Boring With Potential
Bang Gang’s new album, The Wolves Are Whispering, is the first to be released under the moniker since 2008. Bang Gang, also known as Bardi Johannsson, made a record that is spectacular most of the time, but can (and does) slip into dullness. With contributions from artists like Helen Marnie (Ladytron), Keren Ann (Lady & Bird), Jofridur Akadottir (Samaris, Pascal Pinon) and Bloodgroup, the album is positively dripping with talent. However, The Wolves Are Whispering sets the bar incredibly high right out of the gate with “The Sin is Near,” leaving listeners disappointed when it gets droney, boring, and positively Coldplay-esque around the middle.
“The Sin is Near,” featuring Bloodgroup, is quite possibly the best track on the album. A heavy beat, low atmospheric synth and perplexing lyrics create an all-around great song. Using this as our first taste of Bang Gang’s music may not have been the best idea, because we are left longing for another stellar track later in The Wolves Are Whispering, and our palettes are, unfortunately, never satisfied.
“Out of the Horizon” marks an immediate change from the record’s first track. Though not as beautiful as “The Sin is Near,” its music is more organic and it moves quickly. “My Special One” is where The Wolves Are Whispering becomes glaringly average. The lyrics are syrupy, the music is lazy and it is simply boring.
There are few noteworthy tracks afterward. However, “Lonely Bird,” featuring Keren Ann, and “Silent Bite,” which features vocals by Helen Marnie, are relative stunners amid the frozen tundra of The Wolves Are Whispering. Perhaps they are so noticeable because they break up the monotony, but the talent is also undeniably there.
Luckily, The Wolves Are Whispering finishes strong. The last track, “We Will Never Get Along” is rousing and inventive. It, with its naked piano intro and clear vocals, is heart-wrenching and a great closer to what could have been an amazing album. Had every track been as special as the first and last, this record would have been a triumph for Bang Gang.