New wave group Web Rumours sound fresh and flirty on their second album, New Tricks. What may surprise you though is that this sassy new feel for the group isn’t the product of any real additions to their sound or style, but rather a full embrace of it. It would seem, that what makes the difference between this release and their debut Audio Video Disco is increased confidence in the material, which helps it feel more relaxed… and better production. It’s immaculate! That makes a huge difference too.
Web Rumours in their early days had a kind of spiny feel to them, which would clash with the smooth pop climaxes they were attempting to achieve. It made them sound a little bit more like one of those melo-punk bands who were trying out new wave as a way of changing up the formula in the mid ’00s, ie The Epoxies. Those comparisons are no longer applicable. If I didn’t know better, you could have fooled me by including them on a playlist with the Eurythmics or Thompson Twins and I would have believed that they were contemporaries of either. That’s not a dig. I’m genuinely impressed by their ability to naturally embody this era of sound. Early new wave bands were very innovative for their time and their music was well received, in part, because it felt so novel. Web Rumours are able to bottle that ultramodern vibe and it’s extremely laudable.
So let’s get into the tracks, shall we? New Tricks begins with the sweet, new romantic sorrow fall of “New Wave Heartache” where diamond prism synth riffs drizzle like a summer rain over a timbery patter and a clean, weaving sweep of sax solos. It’s an alluring track that ushers you into Web Rumours’s world where you can get lost in the elegant, laced grooves and shocks of backlit synths on “Heroes” as well as the hypnotizing, Human League-esque melodies of the precious, dancefloor dream escape of “Atoms and Dust.” “Moving On” has a more forceful and lusty quality to it which reminds of some of Eurythmics’s looser and more indulgent efforts, while the desaturated soulfulness of the title track manages to move with a strange and alluring austerity.
I know Thursdays are supposed to be when we celebrate throwbacks. But it’s Friday and I just want to listen to something fun. Plus, it’s not a throwback if it technically came out their year. This is brand new new wave that only sounds like it could have been playing in the background of an arcade where you got your best score in Joust, or at a club where you finally hooked up with your highschool crush back in 1982. Who knows? Give New Tricks a spin and maybe you’ll fall in love again tonight, or you’ll do something else that you’ll be bragging about to your friends for the next thirty years (like beating your own top score in Joust).
You can buy and stream New Tricks below via Bandcamp: