I’ve been pleasantly following the career of We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves for well over a year, and it seems to have all come to a head with their excellent new LP, Make a Mess of Sacred Ground. Sure, you’re going to find hints of Smiths and Northern Soul all over the record, but this isn’t your typical re-hash; the group’s songwriters are too good to be run-of-the-will.
The first time I heard “Winsome William,” the opening track, I knew it was going to be a hit. There’s that happening stomp and jangling guitars, then the vocals come in with this crooning swagger; it’s absolute bliss. They’ve captured the best part of the Northern Soul movement, providing you with a song where you can swing your lover about, whilst still having lyrical content that begs attention. While the sharpness of the guitars doesn’t necessarily continue in the same fashion on “Stop Moving,” the rolling drum beat that opens the track definitely makes way for some good listens. Personally, I love the urgency in the vocal delivery; you can hear the passion behind the voice–with lyrics that lean towards a sort of Dev Hynes construction.
Make A Mess of Sacred Ground isn’t just going to beat you over the head with jangle rock; the group loves the soul aspect to boot! “Heart in a Sling” beings almost as if you’re chilling in a hip lounge somewhere, listening to a tight backing band support their favorite crooner. Then the group joins in to take you on a twangy crash into the seas of pop precision. Interestingly, they take a completely different approach altogether with the following track, “Eloise.” It’s similar in structure to the album’s opener, yet here you’ll find a quieted acoustic guitar with vocals soaring at the front of the mix. I was already in love with this song from the beginning, but then some string arrangements join in for accompaniment and I swooned; I can’t stop listening to this track.
If you haven’t heard of We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves, then you’re definitely in for a treat once you put this record on play. From the spirited opener of “Winsome William” to the jangling bookend “Devil in the Old Folk’s Home,” you’ve got a diverse set of eight tracks that wrap themselves around your brain and heart. Make a Mess of Sacred Ground is a quick listen, but it’s so infectious that you won’t be able to resist flipping it over and playing it again and again. If you’re looking for a flawless record that you can show off to all your cool friends, then pick this one up and hopefully we can help spread the word about this great band.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Devil-In-The-Old-Folks-Home-1.mp3]
Download: We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves – Devil In The Old Folks’ Home [MP3]