After seeing The Whip at last year's SXSW I was extremely interested in hearing their studio album. As a live band they were awesome -- my favorite new act of the whole week. Their sensational mix of crunchy French underground electronica, 80s new-wave and brit-pop made for a high-energy show that turned the concrete concert venue in to an off the hook sweaty dance party. I had to see if this energy would translate to their album.
From the first listen of X Marks Destination, it becomes quite obvious that The Whip are pros at getting a party started and fueling it to the late hours of the night. This album is basically a hipsters wet dream. It’s chock full of raw industrial Justice-like electronica tracks that are heavy on crunchy bass lines and catchy two line choruses that are looped continuously through out the songs. “Trashed” and “Throw it in the Fire” are the best examples of this raw dance rock blend. Both feature minimalist hook laced choruses that are worthy of a packed dance floor chanting the lyrics at the top of their lungs. In “Trashed” lead singer Danny Seville sings “I wanna.. I wanna be trashed..” over a big fat grimy beat. How can you not to want drunkenly chant this chorus?
On “Blackout” they add a funky bass line and some looped bell chimes to their dance mix creating one of the more accessible and fun dance tracks. Even the lyrics are more playful with Seville chanting “Blackout, Blackout, We’re waiting for a Blackout!” It’s a tuneful dance track that is irresistible and probably the best on the album.
What I didn’t expect were a couple of 80s new-wave pop songs that really showed a more melodic side of the band. On “Frustration” and “Sirens” The Whip pulls out their best Cure impressions and craft two excellent synth- heavy new wave gems that mesh perfectly into the beat heavy dance album.
X Marks Destination is a perfect party album that plays like a kick ass DJ set effortlessly transitioning between a mix of killer electronica and 80s new wave. Justice and Simian Mobile Disco better watch out because The Whip is a double threat equipped with both the big beats and melodious pop songs to get the party started!