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LONDON ACT’S DANCE-PUNK COLLAGE DOESN’T QUITE CUT IT
Francis Jones, 04 Apr 2012
We Have Band’s second album is like a guided tour of the trio’s record collection. Produced by Luke Smith (ex-Clor and the man who guided Foals on Total Life Forever) the welding together of influences is unashamed, the joins often glaringly obvious. The approach, if not the end product, bears comparison to the work of James Murphy – a man who elevated musical amalgamation into an art-form with LCD Soundsystem.
Indeed, far from the “timeless” record its creators envisaged, this is the sort of album that was being released on Murphy’s DFA label several years back: the dance-spliced-with-punk hybrid of ‘Tired Of Running’ and ‘Rivers Of Blood’ is not dissimilar, for example, to The Rapture. Elsewhere, ‘Steel In The Groove’ is a rhythm-driven number that could have sat neatly on !!!’s hypnosis-inducing Myth Takes, whilst ‘Visionary’ – detached vocal, drum stomp and stabs of trombone – combines New Order and These New Puritans.
What’s more, these are not songs with a coherent story to tell. Instead, they seem designed to convey a feeling – usually one of melancholy, or euphoria – with phrases jumbled together in loose alliances. As ‘Where Are Your People?’ puts it, it’s all “Empty words and clever games”. That said, the fragmented lyrics complement the cut-up and pieced-together again nature of the whole record. Ultimately, like designer knock-offs, Ternion is a crudely stitched, if passable imitation of superior materials.