I discovered The Whip by chance - a recommendation from The Sunshine Underground, if I remember correctly - back in the early days of summer when not much new music is scheduled to come out, and they had a five-track sampler available on their website, featuring all the even-numbered tracks from the album. On first listen, I thought it was alright, but nothing really stood out to me. Now, listening to those same tracks with the odd-numbered ones turning up, I don't know how I ever thought that.
There's all sorts of brilliant ideas floating about on this album, from the heavy, dirty dancefloor fillers to the lighter, less grounded songs that you can still move to. So let's take the heaviest first.
This bunch unfortunately contains the two songs that are probably my least favourites: Shake and Metal Law. The former isn't quite as inventive and stunning as much as the rest of the album, and tends to go on a bit long, but no matter, the chorus is basic but brilliantly done. The latter, on the other hand, is far too repetitive, even though it seems that it was done to describe the repetitiveness of band life: the key lyric is "Get up. Go to work. Do the gig. Go to bed." This is repeated well over twenty times while nothing insanely different is added to the mix in the background, but even when something different kicks in ("This is my metal law, you take it all and I want some more") it just doesn't really excite you as much. And now I've just realised I've typed out the entire lyrics to the song! (Minus all the repetitions)
But still in this same category, there are some bangers too. Intensity does exactly what it says on the... tin? It's the title track of sorts (well, it has the lyric 'wired together' in it) and it's one to get people moving and it all comes together fantastically in the chorus. Riot is the best one on offer, with its simple but powerful chorus of "It's just another riot!" set to make the crowds go wild - such a shame this band isn't better known, because this is huge.
So, leaving the heaviest, we move down a level to the lighter, more poppy songs. Secret Weapon ebbs and flows perfectly, with a catchy synth riff being the highlight; Movement takes ideas from 80s/90s disco with its memorable piano intro that runs throughout the song - this one is another dance-y track of a completely different origin than that of the likes of Riot and Intensity. Also hanging around is the album's closer, Slow Down, which is an epic seven-minute journey which seems to go a lot faster than that - it's the best way to close the album, and when the lyric "When two worlds collide, love will feel no pain" turns up, you want to smile. Not just because of the lyric, but because of the way it's sung, and the music that's playing behind it - it's one of the greatest moments on this album.
Remaining then are the album's opener, Keep Or Delete, which builds up slowly, gradually rising and rising, starting with an atmospheric synth as the vocals kick in - then soon we get drums, bass and the whole shebang before it shows off its epic chorus. Then there's Master Of Ceremonies, a song that sort of sounds like it's building to something huge but never quite makes it there. But once you've got around that, it's still a force to be reckoned with. Unlike the rest of the album, this song sort of shuts down a bit when it gets to the chorus, giving it an atmospheric vibe that The Whip seem to have effortlessly mastered here. Last but nowhere near least is Best Friend, a tune that begs for a video with crowds jumping in slow motion (or is that just me?). Lyrically, it sounds like it's about meeting a girl in a club and becoming her 'best friend' for the short time that you know her, and it's so basic and simple, yet so effective.
Ultimately, the band have created a poppy album with huge choruses and brilliant music to go with it. Whether you're looking for the heavier songs more suited to moshpits, etc. (like Riot) or lighter songs to sort of nod your head along to and let it wash over you (like Best Friend), this album has you covered from the slowly building up brilliance of opener Keep Or Delete, to the epic beauty of Slow Down.
FAVOURITE SONGS: Riot, Best Friend, Slow Down
LEAST FAVOURITE SONGS: Shake, Metal Law