Above & Beyond – We Are All We Need
After 3.5 years, trance music’s iconic trio return with We Are All We Need.
Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness, and Paavo Siljamäk are back in 2015 with an album which gives us that new Above & Beyond fix that’s been well overdue.
The London duo have brought joy and tears to fans across the globe for well over ten years now and the London producers have once again delivered a roller coaster of emotions on their latest studio album.
With their previous studio album, Group Therapy dubbed as one of Trance music’s classics, it’s not hard to make comparisons between the two bodies of work. While a lot can change in three years, Above & Beyond have kept a similar overall tone to their previous works. Comparing to Tri-State and Group Therapy, We Are All We Need is much more uplifting, with a constant theme of the celebration of love, life, and self-discovery.
Many of the tracks on We Are All We Need have already been released as singles or played throughout the ABGT radio show, including the likes of “Quiet is Louder,” “We Are All We Need,” and “Blue Sky Action.” Fans will also be pleased as Anjunabeats’ favourite Zoe Johnston returns, as well as male vocalist Alex Vargas, who made his debut for last year’s highly appraised Acoustic album.
If there was a quintessential trance track on this album, it is “Blue Sky Action.” Alex Vargas once again proves to be a wonderful addition to the team, as his vocal style and range is perfect suited.
As described in the Acoustic documentary, the trio take a classical approach to their songs. To be blunt, each songs can be completely stripped of all electronic sounds and can be still be played. Another quality that impresses is how one can easily learn each song. The perfect construction of memorable lyrics, catchy melodies and top-tier production is how Above & Beyond continue to grow their worldwide fan-base.
We Are All We Need brings a new face to an Above & Beyond album with Irish singer/songwriter Gemma Hayes making her mark. While fans might recognize Gemma Hayes for her phenomenal cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game,” (featured on Anjunabeats Volume 11) this time around she provides a great contrast to Zoe; a mid range, slightly raspier voice on “Counting Down the Days.”
Also providing diversity is “Sticky Fingers,” because it wouldn’t be an Above & Beyond album without a little bit of heartbreak. The album version comes with a few small variations to the one released on Anjunabeats Volume 11.
Once again, vocalist Justine Suissa returns to the teams as well. The singer, who was featured on many OceanLab tracks like the super popular “On a Good Day” and “Satellite,” delivers chilling vocals on “Little Something.” Where Zoe Johnston’s voice soars high into the heavens, Justine’s voice reaches deep into your body, pulling relentlessly at your heart strings. The emotional power of Justine Suissa’s vocals make “Little Something” the stand out track on the album.
All Over the World” sees Alex Vargas harness a different kind of power in his voice; being a quiet, infectious approach in the final chorus of the song. Vargas also surprises on the album version of “Making Plans” as he takes vocal reigns instead of Tony McGuinness who had debuted the track for Acoustic documentary. While its dissapointing to not hear Tony on vocals, as he rarely sings, it’s hard to deny how well Alex’s voice carries on the record.
“Fly To New York” reinforces the uplifting tone evident in the opening tracks, with Zoë Johnston on vocals. Once again, the British singer continues to produce nothing but quality vocals time and time again.
“Out Of Time” takes the listener of a journey through a progressive worm-hole of sound that reflects on the groups earlier works from the Tri-State album.
While Tony took a step back from vocals on “Making Plans,” he does deliver an excellent job on vocals for “Excuses,” a fair trade as he really goes for it and hits those high notes during the chorus.
“Save Me” and “Sink The Lighthouse” set a darker, more emotional tone to lead into the closing track “Treasure.” There is no better way to finish than with Zoe Johnston and it’s inspiring the way her dissonant harmonies resonate so long after the song ends.
While fans from across the globe will be comparing We Are All We Need to previous works, it’s important to remember each album is a new form of art. To say that the album was well worth the wait would also not do it justice. It takes influences from each of the previous works, and adds a new spin on where Above & Beyond want to take their music in 2015 and we strongly applaud. This is music with a complete package: an aural, visual, and emotional journey.