Stuck for some subtle tunes to underpin your ‘come dine with me’ and pull focus as smoke bellows from your kitchen? Look no further than Whitest Boy Alive latest, ‘Rules’.
Like an Ikea in-house band, they’re all about natural flow and understated efficiency. With clinical confidence, they ease into an album of crystalline keys,
instigate the biggest epidemic of uber cool head-nodding this side of Fun Lovin’ Criminals, and create tranquil,
composed soundtracks to satisfy bar flies and easygoing dancefloors everywhere.
With former Kings of Convenience man – they weren’t exactly a riot, were they? – Erlend Ove taking the white boy reins, their mild geniality isn’t really a surprise.
And nor is the breezy atmosphere of ‘Rules’. Recorded in a self-built studio/beach house, with only surfing and eating as a distraction, it’s
an album that effortlessly oozes relaxation.
Whereas their modular-released debut, ‘Dreams’, opened itself up to all kinds of re-workings, ‘Rules’ has honed the rhythmic edge of Whitest
incorporating a gentle disco shift throughout – it’s not exactly Saturday Night Fever but a glitter ball and white suit wouldn’t look out of place either.
Typified by Ove’s gentle vocal, it’s a clean and crisp record in every respect. Absolutely nothing is wasted or overstated – mellow, walking bass lines slide around the patter of pin-prick beats,
the repetitive, rhythmic ‘Time Bomb’ setting the casual, hypnotic pace, and the skittering guitar and Kitsune-esque glitches of ‘Dead End’
injecting an upbeat change of pace late on. Languid and unhurried, ‘Rules’ is an accompolished follow up that confirms Whitest Boy Alive’s unhurried cool.
Acting nominations have been liberally chucked at the other awards heavyweight released this month: Doubt (out now) features multiple awards-nommed
acting turns, which is par for the course when you pair up Meryl Streep and the Greatest Actor Working Today (© me) Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The battle of wills between Streep’s battleaxe Sister Beauvier (no relation
to Marge apparently) and Hoffman’s Father Flynn,
who may or may not have a dark secret regarding his relationship with one of his pupils at a Sixties Bronx Catholic school.
Adapted by director John Patrick Shanley from his own play, it’s a stagey affair in which to drink in a host of supreme performances from Streep, Hoffman and Amy Adams,
all of which have turned heads at the Academy and BAFTA, and will each hope to steal a small
portion of the limelight on what will almost certainly be Slumdog Millionaire’s big nights…
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