The positivity surrounding 2015 has been exponential and noticeable. The world seems to be headed in a much better direction than it was a few years ago, and this cosmological brightness make it strangely appropriate for Above & Beyond’s newest studio effort, We Are All We Need, to usher in the new year. As not just gods in their respective genre but leaders to dance music as a whole, we have come to expect nothing but greatness from A&B, especially with their near perfect past resume of Tri-State, Sirens Of The Sea, the sensational Group Therapy, and groundbreaking and heart breaking acoustic album.
We Are All We Need delivers a 1st class dance music experience, with Anjunabeats MVP, Andrew Bayer, on top of the production aspects, every tune is crisp to perfection and as satisfying as sonically possible. It might be the groups most diverse album, as much of the sound leans towards the newer, electro infused, trance and others featuring grooves that sound more reminiscent of the group’s sub label, Anjunadeep. But don’t fret, trance purists, there are no tracks that could possibly be labeled as house music and A&B faithfully sticks to their guns. From the enchanting intro to the heavenly fade out on the closing tune Treasure, you can tell its Above & Beyond from a mile away. The flagship title, Blue Sky Action, which seems to act as the follow up to the bands previous blockbuster hit, Sun & Moon, may be the closest to mainstream you’ll hear, and while it doesn’t possess half the heart of Sun & Moon, it absolutely matches its grandiosity.
Overall We Are All We Need will be everything fans want, and although there are no real surprises, one key element to the groups appeal that continues to stick out the most is the inspired, eclectic, and gorgeous vocals. WAAWN seems to accentuate this even more as the true highlight. Zoe Johnson returns as if she’s never aged a day since her appearance on 2006’s Good For Me and although it may seem like a tragedy that A&B’s favorite regular, Richard Bedford, has been replaced, newcomer Alex Vargas is a perfect successor. Zoe and Alex’s tag team dynamic seems to tell a timeless love story and creates quite the cinematic listening experience. Gemma Hayes and Justine Suissa are worth mentioning as well, as their tunes are some of the album’s best tracks, especially Justine’s Little Something, which is among A&B’s greatest tearjerkers ever.
No doubt will WAAWN be replayed throughout the years to come. While many of today’s highest paid and most popular EDM stars sink deeper into commercial haziness, it’s a relief that A&B continues to not just maintain their identity but push to create an unrivaled sense of maturity and class. Its nothing new, but the sheer quality makes for an extremely filling and lovable meal for any electronic lovers ears.
Favorite Tracks: Blue Sky Action, Little Something, Fly To New York