- An air of mystery surrounds oddball Italian electronic duo We Love. Their live sets take in film, fashion and (logically) music, and the pair regularly perform in costume, a la Daft Punk or Kraftwerk. That was enough for Ellen Allien and her BPitch Control label, however, who present their self-titled debut album here.
Opening with downbeat duet "Ice Lips," the Florentine outfit show a yearning desire reminiscent of early Fink, The XX and Casiotone For The Painfully Alone. There's little of the acoustic, psychedelic or suicidal tendencies inherent within those respective acts, but the send and return vocals of producers Giorgia Angiuli and Piero Fragola marry darkness with desperation just as well.
Shades of Northern Exposure-era progressive breakbeat are rife throughout, but it's also coupled with a dubstep-not-dubstep influence, which makes the album come off like a modern update of trip-hop or downbeat. "Hide Me," for instance, has staccato hammers that stick like glue to thudding kicks as the pair again share time on the microphone, this time through an opiate haze that belies the commanding drums and head-ringing, brain-melting hook.
"Even If" is perhaps as close to perfection as is reached here. Angiuli's vocals swoop, loop and stretch while guitar strings gently pluck above sub-mariner bleeps. Similarly impressive outings are found in "Underwater," and the heart-stopping "No Train, No Plain." With both vocalists equally effective at hypnotism, the former offers male-dominated epicness, while the latter is the best club track here, contrasting siren-like femininity with pitch-black atmosphere, no doubt earning a place in sinister sets from forward-thinking DJs.
Even "Escape Destination"—the closest to mainstream music-video dance as this album gets—fails to truly disappoint. Ibizan strings loop, stab and then cut into vocoder breakdowns before a familiar Eurodance beat kicks back in. Predictable, but nonetheless somehow enjoyable. That said, We Love on the whole is rarely strictly club music, and it's a world away from what most would call "real" downbeat. It instead bridges the gap between couch and club with seemingly effortless ease. It's easy to see why Allien fell in love.
01. Ice Lips
02. Don't Cross
03. Cruise Control
04. Hide Me
05. Even If
07. No Train No Plane
08. Our Shapes
09. Escape Destination
10. White March