WE is band remarkable for their musical vision and patience in the process of refining that vision. For more than ten years they have been pursuing an expression more demanding than most in the realm of rock; an uncompromising and complex species they themselves refer to as “cosmic ”- or “galactic” rock and roll. This signifies a certain lift and “dimension” to the music and to the mind-set it caters to. And for this “extra dimensionality” to come true, a level of perfection seems presupposed. It is as if cosmic rock leaves no room for variable quality, the songs and production must be faultless, the album perfect. But when this happens the result is so mesmerizing that the music suddenly reaches way beyond its expected scope and audience. This is indeed what happened when WE released their already classic album Smugglers in 2004.
Long established as dedicated and productive “stoner rockers” WE were a band respected by the rock scene and well known by anyone truly interested in Norwegian music, both home and abroad. But still they were –so it seems in retrospect- battling to find an output that was just right and that would realize the true lift of their musical enterprise. And this is what happened with “Smugglers:” After more than ten years of hard work and refining of their musical vision the band finally came to their own in an overwhelming way. Aided by some musical heavyweights, not least American Chris Goss’ production, “Smugglers” took well-nigh everyone by surprise and blew critics off their feet. Here was an album so dense, so detailed and thought-through, yet so transcendental; melodically and sonically, that the label “galactic” suddenly seemed just right and not some “stoned” hyperbole.
The pieces coming together so perfectly on this record was something a unanimous corps of critics recognized and expressed deep respect towards, for all knew the hard work and dedication that preceded the success.
In terms of reaching such intrinsic perfection as to transcend a genre’s own popular scope “Smugglers” may perhaps be compared with the breakthrough album of that other project with which Goss is associated; Queens of the Stone Age. Their “Songs for the Deaf,” constituted a breakthrough for a genre ultimately fairly “narrow” and difficult, by the force of sheer perfection. (Driven mostly of course by the monster hit “No-one knows.”)
Also musically these bands may be compared although QUOTSA probably cannot be called “cosmic” on par with WE, because the latter have given a more psychedelic flair to their stoner rock. As such WE are probably closer to, say, Monster Magnet.
This “cosmic” element also sets WE apart from Motörhead, one must concede, but other properties they do share: such as highly energetic hook-lines, incessant momentum and not least a formidable work-ethic and endurance as a band. Regarding the latter point WE have still a long way to go of course, Motörhead must be the guys having played the fastest, loudest and most gruellingly restless ( “no sleep until Hammersmith”) rock for the longest time of all. But it appears the respect between the bands is mutual, and Motörhead’s Lemmy apparently found in “Smugglers” something he thought special and wanted his fans across Europe to discover.
The first gig of the on-going Motörhead tour to feature “special guests WE” is Düsseldorf, on November 29th.
Click here to download WE's electronic press kit: sd
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