If there is one band that would make me desperately scramble around for the pause button when one of my buddies walked into the room, that band might be Tacoma, Washington’s cute and cuddly He Is We. Made up of vocalist Rachel Taylor and multi-instrumentalist Trevor Kelly, they released their first full-length last year titled My Forever that blatantly tugged on the heartstrings of the sappy souls of thousands of people (both male and female) across the nation. They continue the momentum with the release of a short EP titled Skip to the Good Part, which features a compilation of different versions of previously released material and a couple new songs as well. Not only are the altered versions just as good if not better than their original counterparts, but the new songs also shine quite brightly.
When I first heard the original version of “All About Us” which featured a delightful back and forth between Taylor and The Almost‘s Aaron Gillespie, I instantly fell in love with it. Earlier this year they released a newer version of the song which featured someone a little more on He Is We’s level of sugary cuteness in Adam Young of Owl City. While this version is still a delightful listen it does no justice to how flawlessly Taylor and Gillespie bounced off one another. Young’s vocals contrast with Taylor’s in a way that is not as easy to listen to but still convey what is needed in a duet between two lovers.
Filling out the middle of the EP is a newer, much longer version of one of their old demos “Our July In the Rain,” along with two new tracks. “Our July in the Rain” is a heartbreaking tale as Taylor’s effortless vocals glide along with the piano, guitars and strings elegantly. As the bridge proclaims “This melody will never speak/All the things that I regret if I could say anything/My apologies for the way I ended things/See I love you but you scared me” and somberly transitions into the quickly escalated chorus, in which Kelly’s instrumentation is put to full force, we see that this full version was worth waiting for.
New songs “Tell Me” me and “Skip to the Good Part” are worth raving about for different reasons. The former features some of Taylor’s best lyrical moments while the latter features one of the catchiest choruses and some of the most delightfully cheesy lyrics of 2011 and another impressive performance from both Taylor and Kelly.
Rounding out Skip to the Good Part is a piano version of “Our July in the Rain” and a live piano version of “Prove You Wrong” which was featured on My Forever. The piano rendition of “Our July in the Rain” takes an already somber song and makes it even more powerful as Taylor’s vocals absolutely captivate and the only thing that the live version of “Prove You Wrong” proves is that Taylor and Kelly are admirable live performers.
He Is We will absolutely leave their mark on popular music once 2012 is said and done and if they don’t, it will be a damn shame. Every cheesy line and catchy melody delivered by Taylor and Kelly deserves attention and Skip to the Good Part only solidifies that statement.