‘Rules’ is the quintessential bar music album. It sounds just trendy enough to tickle your curiosity and it is smooth enough to provide atmosphere without taking over.
There is not a single grating moment on the entire album. There are no bum notes, no experimental freak-out to show you that they can be edgy if they want to. The Whitest Boy Alive don’t have anything to prove. As a result ‘rules’ is totally relaxed and gloriously unassuming. Interestingly, ‘Rules’ is not an instrumental album but looks back to the coffe table vocal albums from the 80’s and 90’s - Sade, Seal, Jamiroquai, etc. - with singer swooning his way through the 11 tracks with an immaculately light touch.
‘Rules’ sounds just like a trendy Dance album should at a time when flashbacks to 80’s Disco are still flavour of the day. Marcin Oz plays funky bass, Daniel Nentwig injects spacey keyboards and Sebastian Maschat keeps time with his dead straight four-to-the-floor beat. My favourite track ‘High On The Heels’ sounds so authentic Eighties, it could almost be long lost classic played by Jellybean Benitez after a Madonna record at the Music Box. All very nice. Or is it?
Let’s say, if I’d walk into a bar somewhere and ‘Rules’ would be playing I’d be happy to stick around for a while. But after three songs I’d be wanting something a bit more exciting. you see, ‘Rules’ flows effortlessly but doesn’t go anywhere and after 11 tracks you’re back exactly where you started. There is no build up, no peak, no - oh, just do SOMETHING… ANYTHING.
Whitest Boy Alive have delivered the perfect background album - Super cool but ultimately bland. The upside is, of course, that you can play ‘Rules’ at any dinner party in the sound knowledge that it will sound reasonably hip without alienating anybody.
Don’t get me wrong,’Rules’ is a good album for what it is. Just play it judiciously and don’t expect any scenes of wild abandon when you do.
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