WE CAN'T ENJOY OURSELVES
Gig Seeker Pro

WE CAN'T ENJOY OURSELVES

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Rock

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

Music

Press


In an honest tone, a man sings with aching heart to a girl that means more than anything to him. He makes no apologies for who he is, but insists there's more to him than she knows. It's about the dance between man and woman, one driven by love and affection. Supported by a pleasant round of doo wop back-up vocals and innocent '50s charm, this "Charming Man" keeps a certain amount of his grit with a bright, twangy chord progression that was born in a garage. It's a golden tune that plays with a vibrant spirit; like James Dean in "Rebel Without A Cause," there's a great deal of emotional complexity beneath its appealing exterior.

We Can't Enjoy Ourselves, from what I've gathered, is the brainchild of NY-based Giovanni Saldarriaga.

"Charming Man" is from We Can't Enjoy Ourselves' 7-track album One Belongs Here More Than You. Listen to the whole thing and download it (for FREE) after the jump. The only unfortunate piece of news is that it came out all the way back in July of last year -- meaning we all overlooked it. It's slowly becoming a new favorite of mine. I say slowly because I'm only three tracks into it. It runs the gamut of rock 'n' roll and its subgenres. Check it out. - MIx Tape Muse


We’re assuming that the band name for Brooklyn‘s twee pop trio, We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves, is intended to be ironic because the band seem to be enjoying themselves just fine. And, so are the folks who’ve been digging their tunes. In past couple of weeks, we’ve been enjoying their free BandCamp LP, most particularly the two songs featured here. Lead singer Giovanni Saldarriaga demonstrates great control and range, and has been compared to the likes of Colin Meloy (The Decemberists). Comprised of a bass, drums, and a guitar/singer, WCEO weaves simply structured, and incredibly catchy, pop songs. - Indie Rock Cafe


WE CAN’T ENJOY OURSELVES are three charming dudes from New York. Brooklyn, to be specific. Although that doesn’t really matter, because their music is so awesome it’s insane. Catchy melodies and jangly riffs, coupled with a sound that would make the Kinks and/or the Shins proud. Instant giddy-up if you’re in a bad mood. Or a booster if you’re in a good mood.

This is definitely one of those bands that deserves more than 2000-something hits on MySpace (even if MySpace is officially dead) - and you wonder what’s wrong with the music industry. - Theoretically Vinyll


Over the Holidays and during this slow week back to the music world, we had some time to sift through the many emails we receive and our ears perked up to a band calling themselves We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves. They are another group hailing from the indie hotspot of Brooklyn, NY featuring jangly twee pop eerily similar at times to Austin’s own Hollywood Gossip. What strikes me as unique and noteworthy of this band are the vocals from lead singer Giovanni Saldarriaga. Can anyone else hear hints of Blaine Harrison from Mystery Jets? You can also download the band’s entire debut LP One Belongs Here More Than You for free on their bandcamp page. - Austin Town Hall


If the ’80’s act THE HOUSEMARTINS had kids that grew up in Brooklyn, they’d be old enough now to become WE CAN’T ENJOY OURSELVES. Clever lyrics, jingle-jangly tunes, they seem to toe the line between The Smiths (they do a nice ‘This Charming Man‘ cover) and Jens Lekman. Like either of those artists? Head over to their Bandcamp page and download the whole LP, ‘One Belongs Here More Than You‘ for free. WCEO, which is an ‘Annie Hall’ reference, are a trio living in Brooklyn. - Future Sounds


Giovanni from We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves sent over some awesome pop-rock tunes today via SoundCloud. WCEOS make pop music but without any twangy electronics, just plain old “guitars, drums, bass, and lots of reverb,” says Giovanni, ”It’s kind of a throwback.” Most of the songs they write are all essentially love songs. But not the usual somber types that come to mind. This well-put together band out of Brooklyn, New York fills their music will extremely catchy and upbeat pop-rock vibes along with great harmonies. I seriously can’t get enough of these upbeat guitar stums, simple drum hits, ever so distinct soaring vocals and beautifully filling harmonics in their track “Raincoats Coax The R - The Record Stack


Opening up random emails from bands and PR reps and such, it’s just impossible to read and listen to every single thing that flies through my inbox. It’s a tedious affair to sift through everything and something I just can’t allocate enough time for (even though I should, am I right?). But, every so often, something will intrigue the shit out of me, be it the contents of the email (the shorter the better), some strange album artwork contained therein, or even a band name. We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves satisfied a few criteria in that list. Opening up an email from a guy named Giovanni, I found a short, sweet, and to-the-point email about his band with an off the wall band name. I mean, seriously, their band name is a goddamn sentence (and an Annie Hall reference). How can you not want to check that shit out?
We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves / Miss Maris Morris
We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves / Charming Man
So I did. And I’m really glad Giovanni hit me up and asked me to do so. We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves is a three piece jangly pop group from Brooklyn, NY. Comprised of a bass, drums, and a guitar/singer, WCEO manufactures simply structured but damn catchy pop songs. Foot tapping is required. Ringo-like head bobbing comes with the territory. It also helps that lead singer Giovanni Saldarriaga is in possession of an intensely interesting indie-pop voice reminiscent of Alec Ounsworth (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!), Dan Bejar (Destroyer), and Colin Meloy (The Decemberists) to really string those Brooklyn kids along.
A cursory search of the interwebs has made it evident that WCEO is a fresh and squeaky clean band armed with a hasty Myspace page and little else. I couldn’t even find a proper press photo to put up. As their bio reads, and I quote: “They are so new, so fledgling that their bio could fit very nicely on a gravestone.“. Did I mention they’re clever, too? I like that. The whole affair, from their Myspace, to their one lonesome interview, to their lack of credible biography, has a fun and freewheelin’ air about it. It’s as infectious as the ’50s R&B hooks they play.
Lucky for me (and you), the band is just generous as they are clever and offering their one and only album FREE from their Bandcamp website (did I mention they have a Bandcamp? Whoops). It’s titled One Belongs Here More Than You and clocks in at a cool 25 minutes. What a nice group of guys, huh? So get down to brass tacks and download their album. Visit their Myspace for a bit more information on the band. I hope to hear more and more from this talented group of Brooklyn-ites. - Draw Us Lines


It’s rare that I put on a random album and it tickles my ears as much as We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves has done.

Hot damn this record found me in the perfect mood today to listen to and enjoy all of the joyous sounds they’ve crafted. Cut the bullshit, cut the over the top production, cut the bullshit again. This record is a joy from start to finish.

The guys in the group sound like they’re a blast. Boxing together to stay up, club managers telling them to be quiet and place rags over the drum cymbals. They’re a group to look out for.

The record One Belongs Here More Than You is fantastic, how else can I put it?. It’s everything I love about music. A group of guys playing music with little dreams of being the next hot ticket item (although I’m sure they wouldn’t mind that). They make music from the heart and do it for the pure joy of it all.

Listen Before You Buy wrote up a great review of them. Better than I could ever do.

But I heard the record and couldn’t pass up a post about them. Enjoy a track from One Belongs Here More Than You.
- Dyson Sound


If you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up, I think I might just have what you’re looking for; E.

The musical equivalent of E, that is, that actually goes by the street name of We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves. The things is that when you listen to We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves you’re left doing nothing but enjoying the shit outta yourself, and themselves. Knee-slapping and jaunty, the trio comprised of Giovanni Saldarriaga, Caley Monahon-Ward, and Michael Leviton from New York, New York, sound like they’d fit right in with Dexys Midnight Runners or another dungaree-clad musical outfit.

Remember the first time you heard Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (unless you first thing you heard was “Some Loud Thunder”) and their ramshackle, bordering-on-the-best-thing-a-band-of-hipster-gypsies-have-ever-done sound got you all jovial and excited to be listening to something fresh and moving? Well I do, and that’s what We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves have done to me; the instant I heard the first song on the “One Belongs Here More Than You” EP I could tell my aural pleasure zone was about to be stimulated in a way that hadn’t happened in a while.

It’s upbeat, fun, catchy-like-the-clap, and well-written. That’s about all you need to get into some good tunes right? Well get stuck in and see for yourself. Their EP is available for free from their Bandcamp page and below you can hear three of the songs from the EP. - Listen Before You Buy


A sprightly musical hodgepodge, “A Charming Man” evokes a coterie of semi-incompatible forebears, from the Beach Boys to the Decemberists via the Smiths and, geez, maybe Todd Rundgren? Something/anything indeed; the end result, in any case, is as listenable as it is indescribable, weaving an Phil Spector-ish thump in and out of a old-fashioned rock’n'roll backbeat, everything rendered slightly odd and edgy by singer/guitarist Giovanni Saldarriaga’s earnest, nasally tenor. It’s the sound of a man singing with his heart on his sleeve but keeping his sleeve inside his jacket. And maybe it’s not even his jacket.

The lyrics start out discernibly, then proceed to be ever-so-slightly buried in the mix, which is a shame on the one hand, because what we can make out at the beginning sounds like good narrative fun (“I’m just a rebel from the south/I tuck in the corners of my mouth”). On the other hand, I interpret the lyrical muddiness symbolically—this is a character who the more you know him the less he wants really wants to tell you. Anyone who has to sing “Please know I meant you no harm” quite so often is clearly protesting too much. In the meantime a line like “Take a look at my hands/They’re made for vows and not for one-night stands” is nicely suggestive, in a Colin Meloy-ish kind of way. And beyond that, the words are largely hidden below the chugging, endearing music, complete with its eventually wacky harmonies and its swingingly satisfying resolution of the Spector-beat and the backbeat.

The name We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves apparently derives both from Annie Hall (a movie originally entitled Anhedonia, which is the medical term for the inability to experience joy) and from some dialogue in Rebel Without a Cause. The band has a seven-song EP entitled One Belongs Here More Than You available as a free download on Bandcamp, and that’s where you’ll find this song. - Fingertips Music


We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves like their classic indie, that’s for sure. This is a good thing, of course, because so do I. Their particular fascination seems to run somewhat after C86. It’s smoother, less angular and awkward, maintaining a jaunty, easy-going rhythm and steering clear of pretty much all bite. That might be the music’s biggest weakness actually, in that I think it could really do with a bit of needle – some bite, some meanness or a bit of snarl to it somewhere.

That criticism aside, I am really enjoying this. You’ll know what you’re getting within moments of pressing play, and as I have said countless times, when there are few musical twists, you are left with one simple obligation. You have to be able to write engaging, catchy melodies. And this, they can certainly do. It’s not exactly in your face, hum along, bouncy pop music, but every song gets the head nodding and the feet tapping.

At their jauntier moments they sound a little like the Housemartins being fronted by Alec Ounsworth. I know they hardly invented the name, but the name Liza and the whoah-woh-oh on the final track Liza (They Don’t Call This Dancing) remind rather strongly of The Decemberists for some reason. It sounds very Colin Meloy for some reason, and I guess his vocal delivery has a lot in common with Ounsworth in some ways. I still like that kind of nasal, disinterested vocal though, and the slow drift from the more mournful, lazy pace of Back of My Bible to a more urgent jangle ensures a good emotional variation across the album.

They warn in their own press material to not to expect too much from their music, and I don’t know if they are being entirely sincere, but it is a good approach. This is straightforward stuff, won’t surprise you in any ways that I can really think of, and yet remains a really, really good listen and one which has been kicking around my heard for weeks since I first pressed play. - Song by Toad


We’ve been fans of We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves from our very first listen two months ago, but after seeing them live, we fell in love. The Brooklyn-based band may be fresh to the scene but they sound like music you ought to have grown up with. They played Pete’s Candy Store, which is as intimate as a venue gets, and while many of those end up being painfully awkward and pretentious, the band’s personable charm made the show’s intimacy warm and comfortable. And judging from the lovestruck grins on everyone’s faces by the end of the gig, I was clearly not the only one swept off my feet. We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves was endearing and funny with a charisma that draws attention without effort. Their music, which is livelier in performance, was just as charming as the band — think Buddy Holly meets The Smiths. Singer/guitarist Giovanni Saldarriaga has a God-given talent for melody – hitting all our soft spots – and is a treat to watch as well; he dances as if his upper and lower body are separate entities. If you’re in Brooklyn or close by, we highly recommend you check them out at one of their upcoming gigs. The next one is an in-store at Permanent Records on September 24th.

Check out our pics and pick up the song “Put Your Blue Dress On,” which according to Saldarriaga is about “riding bicycles, going to the movies, reading books, and sex.” Enjo - The Morning After Pill


We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves is one the most enigmatic bands I’ve encountered recently. They may hail from Brooklyn like damn-near everybody else these days, and their songs, though incredibly well crafted, are hardly genre-bending. But when I came across their press kit in the Ampeater submissions box, I was immediately struck by their response to the question, “describe your music….” While most bands take this prompt as an opportunity to explain just why exactly they’re so fucking awesome, We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves launches into a scathing and borderline-nonsensical self-critique. “One should be careful not to expect much from (our music)”explains vocalist/guitarist Giovanni Saldarriaga. It’s “delightfully unimportant, in poor taste, demonstrably demonic, satanically pointless and thus,” he concludes, “absolutely fatal to art history majors, compost or compote enthusiasts, and class-conscious bores.” I suppose one should expect a reasonable degree of self-deprecation from a band named We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something more to what Saldarriaga was saying than the mere sum of the words coming out of his mouth. Was it modesty? Irony? A desperate plea for attention? Crossing off theory after theory, I finally arrived at one that seemed a bit closer to the truth—poetry. Perhaps Saldarriaga will cringe at this conclusion. “You’ve got it all wrong,” he’ll retort, “it’s satanically pointless!” But there’s a world of difference between “satanically pointless” and “pointless” and my verdict holds. Some might call this distinction merely rhetorical but the implications are actually quite vast. I wouldn’t waste my time with pointless music but satanically pointless music is another matter altogether.

I agree wholeheartedly with Saldarriaga that We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves is satanically pointless. And what’s so captivating about the satanically pointless? How is it poetic? I’m not drawing comparison to the poetry of Neruda or Rilke or Pushkin or anybody so serious. We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves approach their craft more like Velimir Khlebnikov, Lewis Carrol, or even Dr. Seuss. They’re of a breed of artist that, while lambasting the medium in which they work, never cease for a moment to delight the senses. “(Our music is) inspired by Buddy Holly’s music, the Brandenburg Concertos and cat food commercials from the nineteen nineties,” Saldarriaga continues. “Sometimes it’ll send you into orbit, sometimes Miami Beach circa 1948, a very tame year for bikinis and bathing trunks.” Or, to put it a different way, “if you keep asking us these ridiculous questions, we’re going to keep giving you ridiculous answers.”

In addition to Saldarriga, the trio features Caley Monahon-Ward on drums and Michael Leviton on bass—at least that’s the standard lineup, but the band of multi-instrumentalists mixes it up whenever appropriate with the addition of keyboards, harmonicas, whatever… Front-man Saldarriaga has spent the last several years playing clarinet and guitar in hot-jazz ensembles. Monahon-Ward drums for a number of New York area bands including Extra Life. Leviton is an established singer and songwriter who, incidentally, toured with They Might Be Giants in 2006. To paraphrase, each member of the trio is a veteran performer. Perhaps that’s why they approach We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves as a side project, a diversion from more serious pursuits (“we got together over the winter to record… only after realizing we all have mothers named Olga,” explains Saldarriaga), even though the music is sufficiently potent to warrant more attention.

A-side “Charming Man” springs into action with a sparse but energetic beat in which the power of the floor tom is tempered by the playfulness of a tambourine. Enter jangly guitar and bass followed quickly by vocals. Saldarriaga‘s accent and hyper-melodic vocal hooks bring to mind Belle & Sebastian and yes, if you insist, cat food commercials, but the final product is somewhat more manly than the former and considerably less obnoxious than the latter. The song escalates at a perfect pace. Guitar and drums launch it into a double-time feel at the first chorus and the delightfully indulgent harmonies which kick in at the onset of the second verse up the ante once more. Falsetto counterpoint throughout the third verse, a maneuver that strongly evokes the Beach Boys, and a mildly spastic guitar riff in the final chorus carry the song to a euphoric end.

Clocking in at over five minutes long, B-side “Liza (They Don’t Call This Dancing)” lacks the radio-friendly brevity of “Charming Man” but the payoff is huge when you arrive at the dance-off outro about which Saldarriaga remarks, “I thought really sold it as a plausible Motown number.” I’m not sure if I’d call it Motown but an irresistible shuffle pulse and buoyant vocals certainly make for an explosive finale. Not that the beginning of the song is lacking in hooks; employing many of their usual tricks (lush harmonies, copious tambourine, and a vocal line that dives from high to low but remains sufficiently simple that somebody listening for the first time could probably sing along), We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves offer the listener another pop masterpiece, one that’s less conventional than “Charming Man” but equally addictive

We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves‘ debut mini-album One Belongs Here More Than You was the the serendipitous fruit of a blizzard last February. “For two days,” recalls Saldarriaga, “we laid up in the dilapidated sacristy of St. Cecilia’s convent in Greenpoint where the pew fell apart on touch and where the janitor reported to us that he played the original Toxic Avenger from the eponymous film series.” With the exception of a few vocal overdubs, all seven tracks were recorded live, an impressive feat for a band that’s yet to play a gig. In between takes, Monahon-Ward filled the role of sound engineer and producer while Leviton corrected papers on photosynthesis and Saldarriaga studied Russian. A productive way to spend two days snowed in, no? It’s one of the best self-production jobs I’ve heard. But as I keep reiterating, these guys know exactly what they’re doing at every turn along the way. And maybe that’s why they can’t take themselves seriously. They’ve seen every trick in the pop-music book and consequently recognize them for what they are—tricks. “The coronary thrombosis behind Liza,” analyzes Saldarriaga “is a little more far out than the insouciant pleading behind Charming Man.” I couldn’t have put it better. Knowing the formula to pump out hit after hit is a valuable skill indeed and one that few bands have acquired… but I suppose it could take a little bit of the fun out of the songwriting process. Oh well. If they can’t enjoy themselves, at least others will. - AMPEATER MUSIC


Discography

ONE BELONGS HERE MORE THAN YOU (LP)
(summer 2010)

ALL THE PROS KNOW HOW TO POSE (LP)
(summer 2011)

Photos

Bio

There once was a band in New York called We Can't Enjoy Ourselves. They were young, energetic, and happy; one day they abandoned their matronly motown sound for the sake of a younger genre; they loved, but they were not loved. Their lives ended in disaster.