Two years ago, when Berlin-based The Whitest Boy Alive's debut album, Dreams, first slipped into the office stereo, we nearly wore out the CD. With its calm, arresting beat backed by a hypnotic, audaciously simple guitar line, “Burning” was an inspired opener.
By the time we got six tracks in, to the bittersweet “Don’t Give Up”, more than a few of us were online looking for tour dates. Simple, uplifting guitar pop from a band with the skill and confidence to distil an embrionic tune down to the minimum and allow it the space it deserves, and with the conviction to leave what works well alone.
Now they might even have gone one better with new album, Rules (out 30 March). It could have been when the slow-building keyboards of “Keep A Secret” gave way to the familiar ring of Telecaster strings or when the confident disco syncopation of “1517” faded away (have a look at the version below filmed at a free street concert in Berlin), but the verdict here was a job well done.