We Are All We Need by Above & Beyond 

‘We Are All We Need’ is the fourth studio album from the British melodic dance group Above & Beyond. Released on 20 January 2015, the album is their best yet amongst an already solid discography, taking the listener on a diverse musical journey with a little something for everyone.

The album consists of 16 tracks that follow the theme of how the people around you and the experiences you share with them along the way are ‘all you need’ in life. Starting off very small with the song titled ‘Quieter is Louder’, soft piano rifts deliver a slow and progressively uplifting tempo. The production style foreshadows the journey through the rest of the album. The tempo picks up in the next three tracks – We’re All We Need, Blue Sky Action and Peace of Mind – all with uplifting vocals from newcomer Alex Vargas and the returning Zoe Johnston. Vargas’ booming voice is pitch perfect, hitting even the hardest notes, and Johnston’s beautiful yet almost haunting and ghostly vocals are captivating. The melodic synths and occasional deep under-toning bass complement the vocals perfectly. The remaining songs drop down in tempo and offer a more lyrical journey, with Counting Down the Days and Little Something exploring themes of lost love and new life. The final few songs – Save Me and Treasure – are a bit weaker in my opinion, with the vocalists performing well but the melody lacks the energy I would have liked.

Above & Beyond are in the same musical vein as artists like Dash Berlin and Gabriel & Dresden, all offering uplifting melodic dance music. However, Above & Beyond stand out in that they are involved in every aspect of their music. They own their own record label, Anjunabeats, which distributes and markets the music, giving them full creative licence over what they produce and when. Vocalists who work with them are always unheard of and are included in all aspects of the production process, including writing their own song lyrics. They also have a weekly radio show titled Group Therapy which started in 2004 and has amassed a following of more than 30 million listeners in 35 countries, further connecting them to their listeners. The variety of listeners who send in voice grabs on their weekly radio show and the demographics of their recent sold out shows across Europe, America and Australia are testament to their diversifying listener base, with age and nationality being no boundary.

Above & Beyond have been diversifying their musical style ever since they formed back in the year 2000. With the classically trained background of all three members –Tony McGuinness, Pavvo Siljamäki and Jono Grant – their musical style has substantial depth and their experience in different genres of music allows them to produce multiple versions of the same song. This has resulted in their music appealing to a wider audience base that transcends all ages. An example can be seen with their second album release, Group Therapy, which has been a consistent and strong performer since its release in 2010. Seven of the 18 tracks on the album were adapted into club versions, appealing to harder listeners. Their next release, Acoustic, delivered new acoustic versions of 12 tracks from the same Group Therapy album, appealing to more classical and acoustic listeners. We Are All We Need further balances between these two worlds, with six of the 16-track album having club mixes and the rest being more melodic, uplifting and acoustic.

If you’re new to Above & Beyond, We Are All We Need may just be what you’re missing in your music collection. In my opinion, the album is their strongest performer yet and I would recommend anyone of any age giving it listen.

 

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