Second album from the mercurial Swedes since the loss of founder Victoria Bergman delivers their new groove-led MO with icy élan. This time around, with Lisa Milberg fully affixed centre stage, The Concretes have largely ditched the guitars in favour of bravura beats and a deep house sensibility. It’s a startling reworking of their chiming, charming indie pop into something minimal, but unexpectedly vital. If at first their new musical landscape strikes an unappealingly low profile, a little effort brings its rewards. WYWH needs more than one or two casual spins; more than any other album this year, it emerges from the shadows with stealth and feline grace. Milberg’s frosty delivery eventually takes hold and there is something of the Nico in her almost passion-less vocal stylings giving the likes of opener ‘Good Evening’, an almost epic take on slo-mo disco, real shape and drive. Guitars finally slink in on the devastating ‘I Wish We’d Never Met’ and the closing title track shimmers beneath a synth melody whose sheer bejewelled gorgeousness beggars belief. And all around, amidst midnight grooves and some of the most genuinely heart-breaking lyrics, WYWH takes shape, as bleak (at times) as it is glittering, Neil Tennant’s ‘tragi-disco’ writ large in flickering neon.
Gary K offers thumbs up to The Swedes' new direction.