“The West were insanely good last night. No, I mean crazy good. I saw them at the first of the year at the Croc, but last nights show blew that one away. I might have to say this was my favorite local show of the year.”-Aaron Brown, AB Seattle
Some very kind words from Crystal Collins about the SOLD OUT High Dive show on Sat. Oct. 19, 2013:
‘The West is a band I’ve seen before in this very same space, many moons ago when there were 10 or 20 people at their show. These guys have graduated. When I first saw The West I thought, “That was fun.” Now, they inspire so much more than that. Their driving snare kick dance beats and unique we’re-here-we’re-nerds-and-you’re-gonna-effing-dance charisma on the stage gets beer spilling and butts moving. They turned the whole place into a dance party, vivacious and alive. This is entertainment, a well spoken rebut to the DJ take over. I finally feel at home in the era I was born. I dance as the music commands and the set flies by.’
Our next Seattle show is Sat. Oct. 19th at the High Dive. Last time, we nearly sold the place out and we’re hoping to pack it to the gills again. It will be a night of terrific local bands (Ever-so-Android & Death By Stars) and nothing but dance, dance, dance.
The West’s In Low Light opens with “It was Disco and it’s Over,” a song that’s built on a signature Peter Hook high-toned bass riff, complete with lead singer and guitarist Anthony Darnell doing his best Ian Curtis impression. During the song they play a Joy Division-esque eulogy to the death of disco resolving only to move ahead, like it’s the early ’80s and they’re back in Manchester.
Their EP moves on down the timeline of pop just so, synthesizing the rest of the ’80s in their own way. Their brand of nouveau-disco follows lead bass lines all the way down to club maximalist. The West slides into step somewhere between the saccharine sweet Roxette and the angrily romantic the Whip—their steely synths make them a freakishly dance-y band to have evolved in this region of the country, a notoriously dance-less, shoegaze-y Sodom of people who love to fuck with music but not be seen loving it in public. That may be the reason they’ve been noticed by blogeratti in Sweden, and France, and then over at KEXP before they got to me, but it may also be just because their sound (despite having been perfected decades ago) is so period unique.
When In Low Light starts to hit its stride—right after their awkwardly rock-pop single you may have heard on the 90.3 called “Slightest Touch”—Darnell is shouting out negatives on “You Won’t,” and sharing the microphone with synth player Adrienne Clark, who is allowed to go it alone late in the album on just one song “Call Me A Liar,” but provides an interesting relief when she does. Darnell, Clark, and bass player Jon Swihart encapsulate so much of the 80s they’re hard to not appreciate, and by the end of the album they’ve gone full swing from New Order to INXS, and Darnell is in a full on Michael Hutchence wail.
Heads will bob and hips will roll at their live shows, especially at the point when the set reaches their best song “Hustler.” With an absolutely evil bass line, vibrato guitar ringing in the back, roiling snare, and Darnell hollering at the hot thing next to him on the dance floor, I don’t care what era or city you’re from you’ll have to be dead or just plain dumb to not want to dance to In Low Light.
“…Their follow up, In Low Light, finds a band comfortable in their experimentation. The West has a Party-Indie vibe, remiscent at turns of LCD Soundsystem, New Order and even Bowie. To their credit and my great listening satisfaction, the band has carefully avoided the rampant clichés of the genre and established a sense of arrangement that isn’t easily accessed on Clear Channel World Fucking Radio…”
“…In Low Light is an album Kurt Vonnegut could appreciate. The thought of well-funded college hipsters dancing the night away to the exorcism of a person’s soul is just the kind of twisted irony he found so amusing. I’m inclined to agree. The West have documented the dance floor and all its internal politics as well as anyone I can remember…”
The following review “The West Dance Away The Night at The Crocodile,” by Brigit Anderson appeared online at bestnewbands.com on Wed. May 29th, 2013.
“…This past Friday, The Crocodile played host to a night of local acts headlined by the dance-pop quintet The West. The band played an impassioned set of tracks from if its debut full length album, In Low Light. While the energy the band brought was certainly marked, it was the band’s interaction with each other that stood out the most. They all seemed just unabashedly excited to be playing and weren’t afraid to share that emotion. There were no cool glances or off-putting smirks; rather, direct laughs were unapologetically exchanged between the group to create a relaxed atmosphere.
The youthful energy of the performance was not mirrored in any sort by a juvenility in musical quality. With the coupling of succinct synthesizers from all keyboardists and direct precision from drummer Bob Husak, The West replicated the calculation of their recorded sound in this setting without compromising the joy of live spontaneity.
It would be a disservice to just label Adrienne Clark, one of those members on keyboards, as merely a vocalist and synth player. On stage, her body almost acted as another instrument. From the first notes onwards, she was actively dancing and inspiring the crowd to do the same. The West came on just before midnight and after three long sets before theirs, it would have been excusable for energy to wane, but Clark’s own enthusiasm seemed to reinvigorate the crowd and generated just as much dancing off stage as on…”
1. Daughter – Smother
2. Junip -… Line of Fire
3. Heavenly Beat – Faithless
4. Beach Fossils – Careless
5. The Comettes – Deserts
6. The Valley – Rad Dungeons
7. Peace – The Perp Walk
8. BRONCHO – Try Me Out Sometime
9. Police Teeth – Chicago One Point Five
10. The West – Don’t Make a Sound
11. Widowspeak – The Dark Age
12. How To Dress Well – Cold Nites
NOTE: This is an English translation of a review we received for In Low Light on a French blog called “On The Wall.” Thank you to Eric Chirnside for providing the translation. You can read the original article by clicking here.
Let’s dive into underground music with The West’s excellent first a…lbum, In Low Light, which could appease even the biggest music snobs among you.
Hipsters lacking any sort of musical open mindedness need not apply. The West has nothing to do with a certain chillwave à la Toro Y Moi or with the electro dream pop of M83. Seattle. City of music snobs par excellence but a forgotten cemetary. Oh sure, we remember Hendrix, Cobain, et al… Bastion of the indie label Sup Pop Records, the godforsaken center of Washington State counts not only for a large music scene that endures regardless of past local drama, but also enjoys some unquestionably good bands. This is the case for The West, whose sound mixes energetic indie rock with dance rock synths ready to make you wear out your sneakers on the dance floor of an underground club. Adrienne, Anthony, Reed, Bob, and Jon even say so themselves: “I see you standing on the dance floor next to me…” Proof that their human desire to incite movement shines through…
Imagine the child of The Smiths and The Whip…or the reverse. The West is above all a band that unleashes indie rock riffs over ultra-80′s synthetic melodies, driven by possessed dance rhythms. It Was Disco And It’s Over clearly reminds us of Joy Division’s work and of Morrissey. A sort of testimony for a new wave that is becoming more and more commonplace at the forefront of today’s music scene. Don’t Make A Sound grooves in ways that should be illegal and implores your presence on the dance floor, among the young women shaking their sparkling hair, which isn’t without reminding us of a certain French cosmetic company’s commercials, and the presence of the bass on Another Story takes a certain perverse pleasure in giving you brain trauma with its enchanting powers urging you to bang your head, in the same way that You Won’t absorbs all of your energy. The quintet is not to be outdone on You’re In Control, which shows its luscious bottom end, and we then jump around through the rest of the album.
One more band to watch closely. Proof that the Brits don’t make up the entirety of the independent music scene, far from it in fact…
If you missed The West on the You Can and You Will Podcast, we made it easier to listen. Play this video to preview a non-mastered track off of our upcoming album ‘In Low Light.’ It’s half the song, but it’s just enough to wet your whistle.
A GREAT review from Culture Mob about our recent show at BARBOZA. “They play the most incredible dance-rock I’ve heard around the city as of late…I could go on and on about how I’m in love with the lyrics and the keys, but a round of applause needs to be made to their drummer.”