Slick Sultry Beats
The Concretes dig past their old saccharine pop exterior to probe something a little darker, a little slicker. The Swedish octet play with lo-fi guitars and simple arrangements on their fourth studio album WYWH, blending its smooth pop with strains of disco and house music to create a lush, low-down sound.
The album’s first track (and arguably its best) is “Good Evening,” a triumph of slinking disco bass and clean guitar tones that reach and float above a danceable beat. Singer Lisa Millberg’s sultry voice echoes and drifts, soft in just the right places. WYWH is Millberg’s second album with The Concretes after former vocalist Victoria Bergsman left the band to pursue solo work. The switch has allowed The Concretes to shift their sound, adapting to Millberg’s airy crooning and taking their music in new directions.
The brooding horns on “Crack in the Paint” and heavy, pulsing synth on “What We’ve Become” display the band’s move toward a darker sound, but the lush poppy choruses on “What We’ve Become” and “All Day” show they haven’t completely strayed from their roots. “Oh My Love” and “I Wish We’d Never Met” are pop songs of the sentimental variety, melodic and a little cutesy. They don’t hold as much interest as the rest of the album, but they’re still easy on the ears.
The album’s title track “WYWH” is awash with waves of lo-fi synthesizers rising and receding, blending into layers of melody above a sparse disco beat. It’s a return to the style of “Good Evening,” turning the album into a neat circle. The Concretes mix a rich sound with minimalist arrangements and memorable hooks on WYWH, and it just might be the perfect combination.