Sunflower Bean serve up a cheerful slice of pop rock on new LP ‘Twentytwo In Blue’

by tilly o’connor (@tilly_oconnor)rating 7

Following their somewhat disjointed 2016 debut Human Ceremony, Sunflower Bean are back with the hugely hyped Twentytwo in Blue.

Opening with 70’s chant rock tune Burn It, the New York trio set the tone for the record – old style riffs coupled with a millennial understanding of the world. Vocalist and bassist Julia Cummings shines over the music, which feels somewhat stale. Nonetheless, as first tracks go, it’s a strong one. It will most likely be going down well on their current UK tour.

The real standouts on this album are the songs that manage to marry the bands influences with stunning fresh takes on pop music. This is illustrated perfectly on Memoria, which knowingly includes the lyrics “The past is the past for a reason”. Guitars and backing vocals glow and ooze like some of Fleetwood Mac’s best work. Their influence is ever-present in Sunflower Bean’s discography but its most obvious on I Was A Fool.

The track kicks off with one of the coolest bass riffs on the record – seriously, grab your best headphones and have a listen. In the dreamy lament for a past relationship, Cummings is joined on vocals by guitarist Nick Kivlen. There’s a back and forth between the two that plays out like two sides of a story (not unlike fellow trio NDUBZ, however this could merely be a coincidence). His lines include a fleeting religious reference: “I was a fool who lost his herd”. Their previous work has included copious amounts of biblical imagery; however, TTIB departs from this, explicitly so in the lyric “I don’t need your religion” on Human For.

The band regularly succeed in providing sweet sonic escapism for those of us not living in the states, although on tracks such as Puppet Strings and Crisis Fest their efforts turn to political commentary. The latter is explicitly about the US’ current administration as well as things such as the effects of student debt. The topics are tackled head on, but this comes across cheesy at times. From the “no, no, no”s of the chorus, to “2017 we know, reality’s one big sick show”, the lyrics seem lazy. This is countered in part by Cumming’s earnest delivery, but it’s often overshadowed by predictable bluesy guitar.

The title track Twenty Two is musically mature compared to other songs on the album. Lyrically, however, some of the rhyming form sits sticky and noticeably in the ear. The repetitiveness is jarring – “We could live inside a place, where we’d never have to face, all the people who disgrace, us and make us hide our face”. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as this nursery rhyme style prose is reserved for the beginning of the song. The chorus climbs and cascades in terms of metaphor and literary references, making it a beautiful song about reaching adulthood.

Twentytwo in Blue is a conscious record. Its glittery music harks back to simpler, summery times, but the ideas brought forward keep your feet firmly on the ground and looking to the future. With Julia Cumming’s vocals standing tall on top of the Sunflower Bean human pyramid the band look to have found their sound. This record will likely cement them as important players in the otherwise vague pop rock genre.

Lucy Dacus delivers an emotional sucker punch on new LP ‘Historian’

by sarah hughes (@hollowcrown)rating 7

American singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus proves herself a ferocious storyteller and stellar musician in this emotional departure from her 2016 debut No Burden. By exploring different styles throughout her latest LP, Historian, she is developing her own signature sound whilst maintaining her ballad credentials. With two carefully curated singles under this record’s belt, the music community is anticipating which direction this incredible artist will take her talent next.

The structure of this album is paramount in exploring a hurtful separation – the first half is raw and unfiltered then, as the songs play out, they become more mature and resolved. Stylistically this creates incredible contrast and atmosphere, and by using this method Dacus enthralls the listener in her heartache.

Around the halfway mark there seems to be a lull in energy, with songs like Nonbeliever failing to delivering the catharsis we expect from a break up record. As a result, we are left somewhat pining for more; however, this dip in energy serves a symbolic purpose in conveying the long and melancholic halt of life after someone leaves, and strongly reinforces the growth later exemplified in the record with songs like Timefighter delivering that punch we were previously denied. Lucy Dacus successfully involves the audience in her own personal healing process whilst remaining relatable which, in turn, outputs a powerful record.

In comparison to her previous efforts, there is a very apparent adjustment of her songwriting ability and character. She has developed a signature of intense build-ups in her songs – they often start frail and build to strong numbers. In addition to this, she has experimented more freely throughout Historian than ever before, playing with synths, samples and classical strings; songs like The Shell, for example, benefit from these extra sounds as they add to the tone and romanticise an otherwise angst-ridden story.

In Body to Flame, a track from the latter portion of the album, the introduction of classical strings adds maturity and refinement. Soliloquys are also a really interesting tool Dacus uses to evoke a reaction from the audience and project the solitude she is feeling, particularly in album closer Historians, a track which shows a lot of influence from Deerhunter and parallels the lingering pain of their instrumentals. This is perhaps the most melancholic point of the record, as it’s the final curtain and she is finally letting go.

As a whole, this release cements Lucy Dacus as an independent, ferocious musician, well on her way to making waves in the scene. There’s an obvious progression from her first album, and she is striving to push her own boundaries and experiment with her newly-found signature style.

Caroline Rose bucks the trend with her third LP ‘LONER’

ALBUM REVIEW

by kieran cannon (@kiercannon)rating 7

Burlington singer-songwriter Caroline Rose is virtually unrecognisable as the same star of the show from I Will Not Be Afraid and America Religious. Turning conventional wisdom on its head, her career progression into 2018 – according to an interview with Rookie Mag – is marked by a hefty dose of ego-dismantling and less of a desire to be taken too seriously, a refreshingly blithe approach which is often overlooked and underappreciated as an artistic quality.

On her latest release, LONER, it’s out with the old and in with the new. Gone are the obvious country/roots-rock sensibilities and in their place – well, near enough everything else. This latest output demonstrates her refusal to conform or stick to one genre for too long and as a result, she has avoided being pigeonholed as simply “another folk singer”. If the album art wasn’t a dead giveaway (smoking an entire pack of cigarettes with a vacant expression, post-workout), you can expect heaps of wry humour and plenty of sardonic mockery.

The title of opening track More of the Same couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s apparent from the opening salvo of staccato organ that this is unlike anything we’ve heard before from Caroline Rose; in fact, the only real indication you’re listening to the same artist is her distinctive, piercing vocals. Here, she mulls over feelings of disillusionment as she loses faith in people, in ideals she once looked up to – as if the rug has been pulled out from under her.

By no means is this markedly melancholic start a reliable indicator, though. The rest of the album benefits from plenty of injections of derisive humour and lightheartedness, particularly on numbers like Money where she fires off consumerist critique to the tune of groovy blues guitar. Same, too, goes for Soul No. 5 – so named because it has been through five different iterations, eventually ending up (after advice from co-producer Paul Butler to just “take the piss out of it“) as an immensely danceable slice of pop-rock.

Since taking over the reins of producing, Rose has managed to merge the tracks together with a cohesive sound which is ultra-slick yet sharp-edged. That being said, one or two tracks – particularly Cry! and Talk – have a tendency to wash over you when you’re listening to the entire record as some of the arrangements begin to teeter on the edge of becoming formulaic.

Worry not, though – your attention will immediately be grabbed again by tracks like Bikini, a fiery blast of feminist punk the likes of which Kathleen Hanna would be proud. It’s very much an emphatic ‘up yours’ to the unrealistic, highly sexualised standards expected of female artists by music executives. Jeannie Becomes a Mom checks out this idea of failing to live up to what society expects of you through a different prism; an amalgamation of stories about her friend’s unintentional pregnancy and her own anxieties.

In many ways, this record encapsulates several different struggles we all undoubtedly face at some point in our lives – feelings of loneliness and anxiety about living up to expectations, but also a certain level of detachment from the world around us. While her previous output has been rightly lauded for its earnestness, it’s a breath of fresh air to see she’s now adopted a much more shoulder-shrugging, defiant approach. It’s not that she doesn’t give a shit anymore – it’s more a case of her discovering new ways of dealing with these problems. Armed with straight-faced sarcasm and a willingness to deploy her vast array of vocal techniques for effect, Caroline Rose simultaneously ridicules and manages to be uniquely relatable. Along the way she stalls once or twice, as would be expected of any artist who takes such a drastic change in creative direction; however, there are more than enough moments of sheer, unadulterated fun on this album to look past it.

Album Review: Beck – Colors

By Kieran Cannon (@kiercannon)

rating 5

Ever since exploding into public consciousness with the sardonic slacker anthem Loser in 1994, Beck has established himself as one of music’s most notorious shapeshifters. His bizarre but engaging musical journey has seen him landing in country-via-hip-hop territory on Odelay, bombastic Prince-infused freak funk on Midnite Vultures and stripped back folk rock on Morning Phase; an album which saw him once again drop his characteristic snark in favour of a more sincere, humble approach à la Sea Change. After this reprise, another tectonic shift was always on the cards and, after a great deal of uncertainty, it has arrived in the form of Colors.

Of all the singles, Dreams was perhaps the most reliable indicator of what to expect from the Californian singer-songwriter and his latest sonic philosophy. In stark contrast to the introspection and melancholy of songs like Blue Moon, scratchy overdriven guitar immediately bursts forth and upbeat, pop-driven vocals signal a resurgence of confidence after the vulnerable, confessional nature of Morning Phase; a rebirth of sorts. Teaming up with quintessential pop producer Greg Kurstin, with whom he recorded the majority of the album’s instrumentation, Beck has stated his intention was always to navigate a drastic shift away from the atmosphere of his previous album. “I was really trying to make something that would be good to play live” he said, intimating a desire to rediscover the energy of earlier records.

What follows is an album whose songs occupy a spectrum: at one end, experimental pop and at the other, straightforward dance-rock. Along the way and to varying extents, influences ranging from ’60s Beatles to ’80s chart stalwarts are channeled. Undaunted by being overly simplistic, the primary focus of his latest material appears to be raw energy and straightforward, hedonistic enjoyment. The Beck of yore, the man who once sung of “running through the mini mall in [his] underwear“, makes only a cameo appearance. Instead, his trademark metaphoric and often-surreal lyrics have been significantly dialed down to be exchanged for radio-friendly, vague pop/rock tropes. Take, for example, the titular opening track Colors: through effects-laden vocals he sings “All my colors, see the colors, make the colors, feel the colors / Tell me, do you feel alive?“, a half-arsed, generic feelgood chorus; as uninspired as you’re ever likely to hear from him. On this and an unfortunate number of other tracks (the worst culprits: Up All Night and Square One), it’s hard not to observe that his persona has been sanitised – somewhat diluted in the pursuit of ‘fun’.

Where his music shines the most is on absurdist, sample-heavy material from the Dust Brothers-era or the tender, heartfelt introspection on records like Sea Change; however, all too often on Colors the relentless optimism coursing through the majority of the album borders on nondescript and ‘for the sake of it’. Arguably Wow ranks as the outright low point, a track which, for a while, was almost destined for the recycling bin before his children convinced him otherwise. Previous forays into the realms of alternative hip-hop, such as the wonderfully rambling Novacane, have generally been successful thanks to his snarling wit and turn of phrase, but in this context it feels remarkably forced. Proceedings are underway with a saccharine pan flute riff backed by a trap beat and, as the insipid chorus approaches, it becomes apparent even Beck’s celebrated genre-meshing capabilities have their limit. Whether or not delivered with colossal amounts of irony, the regrettable conclusion is it’s just a bit shit. Chance the Rapper was supposedly invited to collaborate on the track; however, had he accepted, it’s difficult to envisage how much of an impact he would’ve delivered. Unless, of course, he decided to veto that obnoxious pan flute.

Despite this, there are several promising moments throughout the record where his latest musical doctrine shows signs of clicking. Dear Life, undoubtedly one of the highlights of the album, stands alone as a rare moment of doubt among a sea of optimism. Outwardly cheery, featuring an incredibly catchy honky-tonk piano riff and several unpredictable chord changes, the melody hides darker lyrical content. “How long must I wait / Before the thrill is gone” he muses, a brief period of apprehension among euphoria – a recognition that it won’t last forever. The midsection – containing three solid numbers Dear Life, No Distraction and Dreams – is evidence that, perhaps with refinement and greater attention to detail, another album following a similar format could work. The majority of this record (Wow being a notable exception) makes for pleasant enough listening; there’s no doubt he has succeeded in creating ‘fun’ music. Bearing in mind the sheer ingenuity of albums like Morning Phase and Odelay, however, it’s difficult to avoid disappointment when Beck writes music that fails to make an impact.

Album Review: Everything Everything – A Fever Dream

By Chris Fry (@chrisryanfry)

It’s an ambitious title, isn’t it?

For a band that trades in sonic insanity; manic falsettos, huge synths and a mad scientist approach to genre, this sets up a lot of expectation. Or maybe, it’s a sly little boast. Everything Everything’s sound you might expect has other bands ripped out of their sleep in the middle of the night, slick with sweat.

But no, the album isn’t itself so much of a fever dream as about one. The disaster year 2016 and its dragged out sequel cast a long shadow over the album as it does for the rest of us. Trump, Brexit and the surrounding imps of modern politics (post-truth, refugee crises, the alt-right, etc.) are dominant themes and set A Fever Dream as their most consistent album lyrically and thematically. While it is, as usual, an intriguing joy to hear Higgs’ take on the world and his rapid-fire abstract lyrics, by now every man and his dog has said their piece on the alternate reality we’ve slipped into, so it’s maybe a little late.

These themes are introduced with incredible subtlety in the opening track, Night of the Long Knives. Blatant song title aside, it plays much the same role as To The Blade does for Get To Heaven, a teasing lowkey intro, sounding like a news programme intro theme after a few kicks to the head, before blasting itself open, this time with a massive droning synth.

However, it’s time to address the fact – this album is frontloaded, and split into Everything Everything’s dual personalities. The first half is big, bold and maximal, and packed with 2 of the 3 singles: Can’t Do and Desire, leaving the less conventional title track to the back half where it belongs. Can’t Do is the band at their most radio-friendly, full of bright, dancey synths and shoutable lyrics that show a bit of easy postmodernism: a song about writer’s block. Desire is the single you’d expect and the most obvious choice, a crystallised form of their sound as much as there can be one.

The first half continues to hit hard on a couple tracks with a surprising return of the riff. If there’s any sign of Everything Everything’s unconventionality, then it’s the fact that for an all-white all-male four-piece, a guitar riff comes as a shock. They’re jerky, staccato perversions of riffs that largely echo the belting chorus of the first album’s Suffragette Suffragette, although more tastefully done.

Big Game starts as a brief break in intensity, Higgs’ falsetto sweeping over with Trump-baiting lyrics, ‘wrinkled little boxing glove’, until the two-minute mark, cutting to harmonies over a simple arpeggio and then breaking into one of the album’s “big riffs”. The other riff, slightly more conventional, rules Run the Numbers, a ballsy tribute to the “had-enough-of-experts” mindset.

Image result for everything everything 2017 band

Good Shot, Good Soldier, or the break that Big Game pretended to be, is unfortunately lost between these two tracks, booting an average song down to “weakest on the album” territory.

Put Me Together rounds out the other side of Brexit, an obituary of sorts for the victims of post-Brexit hatred – ‘there’s somebody washing the car and there’s / somebody watching the children / but they’re nothing like you and me.’ The song also rings in the album’s second half and Everything Everything’s other personality. Softer, slower, the complexities becoming more gentle hypnosis than blunt trauma. Running into the last single and title track, A Fever Dream whirls around a central piano melody on a slow descent into chaos, the recurring piano anchoring the song around its intricate rhythms and shifting soundscape.

Ivory Tower follows up with a declaration against keyboard warfare, dragging the album back to the urgency of its first half. The pre-chorus ‘We didn’t think that it would happen and it never will´ reaffirming the album’s theme of a world watching itself veer out of control. New Deep dips back into the dream with a blanket of hypnotic sound, undercut with the sound of someone getting out of a car in the wind.

The album closes with White Whale, a delicate, if slightly obsessive, love song that just after two minutes, explodes into squealing guitar. It comes back, all delicateness swept aside, the sweet ‘Never tell me that we can’t go further’ reframed as sinister chanting. It has to be said though, a Moby Dick reference feels way too easy.

The main flaw of the album is where it sits in the discography. Their sound, raw and punky in Man Alive, was refined in Arc and polished even further in Get To Heaven. And while A Fever Dream is solid on its own, it is starting to feel like more of the same. It’s a paradox, but the eclectic and unpredictable sound is starting to become predictable.

Maybe the best way to describe it is like a twitch. The first time is exciting, your body jolting against it, the shock of a new thing. And for a time, it keeps up interest, it snaps you to attention with each spasm. You interrogate yourself as it happens in new ways, interrupting your sentences and getting featured on Radio One. Then the pleasant discomfort turns, and it becomes a little bit routine, just another thing.

This doesn’t damn A Fever Dream, but the album should maybe mark a turning point for Everything Everything; a good moment to start experiment and freshening up their sound. The next album will cast A Fever Dream as either the pretty knot tied around the first chapter of their career or the beginning of the end.  Now, this isn’t saying they should do their own OK Computer but it is strongly hinting towards it. Either that, or this just might become their Only By The Night.

All that aside, A Fever Dream sits pretty comfortably with the rest of their so-far excellent output; the madness distilled down to the most coherent it’ll get, without compromising itself.

8/10

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Track Review: Sweet White – My Girl/Someone

By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

Over the past three years, the Peterhead band Sweet White have never been traditional or predictable: one of their earliest tracks Flesh and Blood was very well suited to its time where the likes of Peace flourished under an indie rock Renaissance but as they continued, they’ve explored ambient electro, classic rock ballads and bloody disco through various singles and an EP.   

So with their third release of the year My Girl having just dropped, it’s no surprise that the alt-act are having a stab at a new subject – romance. Sweet White have never been hesitant about chucking some affectionate lyrics into the mix but this is the most lovey-dovey they’ve been so far.

However, instead of just being that goes “she’s all mine, she’s x & y”, this latest offering is liberating – “My girl’s got things to say, my girl’s got news for you” sings Jake Cordiner as he gets progressively more aggressive, almost channelling the rage women would feel by some classic romantic archetypes. It all builds up to the band’s most lush sounding chorus thus far, layered vocals from Jake and Shaun Wilson giving off a soothing and slick appeal that is utterly undeniable. 

Sweet White aren’t sufficed by giving us just one track though, providing us with a b-side by the name of Someone. While My Girl feels like it could be written about anyone, Shaun intentionally aimed for the song to be open to interpretation, Someone is definitely a song written for, well, someone, that being Shaun’s girlfriend.

Having him on lead vocals is a nice change, his voice sounding suitably sweet while never too overbearing or corny which is good news considering the minimalist instrumentals put him right under the spotlight, The tiniest bit of percussion is the most we get backing up wise, giving the song a total lullaby vibe making it all the more gorgeous.

So, a quick recap: Sweet White can put Reflektor-esque disco, classic Foals indie rock, ambient electro pop and now two lush, unique songs about romance. It’s perhaps the most conventional subject matter the band could go for but having had a go at it and in the process giving it their own unique flair, Sweet White continue to surprise not only themselves but the listeners as well.

8.5/10


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Track Review: The Vegan Leather – Eyes

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

During their set at this year’s baby-faced TRNSMT (spoiler: it was pretty good), Paisley art-pop outfit The Vegan Leather displayed an abundance of variety throughout their performance: there was Shake It, a single dropped earlier this year which was the catalyst for simultaneously singing, dancing and throwing drinks up into the air. Then they had This House, a track which does very much the same but in a whole other fashion – whereas the first example has brief moments of calm, This House keeps its energy throughout its running time and culminates in an outrageous bang of guitars, drums and toe-tapping synths.

With their new single Eyes, it’s apparent that The Vegan Leather haven’t lost their knack of crafting a dancy tune but they’re focused on doing so in a different way: front-man Gianluca Bernacchi’s comments have confirmed this, saying to Tenement TV that they wanted to go for something ‘very bright and dreamy’ with the accompanying video. Marie Collins is on prime singing duty this time round, we always got a taste of them with the band’s previous singles but this is the first to have her in spotlight, and boy are they a treat – gorgeous and alluring, they set the song up to be TVL’s take on a “slow” song but never judge a book by its cover, eh?

The song slowly but surely builds its way up to a beautiful climax: think Carrie with its an hour and a half wait for the big moment, except instead of pig’s blood it’s glitter, confetti and an all round eruptious finale. Eyes does a lot of what makes the group such a lovable group to begin with – the delicious rhythms and synths are candy for the ears. It’s what the track does differently that makes it a real standout, taking a different approach songwriting wise and ending up all the better for taking a risk with their formula. Another hit to add to their record so far: at this rate, their  eventual debut LP is gonna be audible ecstasy. 

8/10

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Track Review: Sweet White – Celebrity

By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

With its bass driven and glitzy synth intro, Celebrity by Sweet White welcomes its listeners with a soothing drive through an 80’s adorned landscape. The Peterhead boys have been undergoing a slow but steady evolution during their career, starting off with some intelligent and intricate rock tunes much in the same vein as Foals before dipping their toes into some poppy waters, a decision that has proved to be wise.

There’s no faltering on this latest track either. The aforementioned intro definitely sets the tone as frontman Jake Cordiner‘s vocals glide through the flashy L.A air, speaking of a woman who aspires to make it in Holywood. Talks of parties, materialism and longing for icon status channels the yuppie culture that was an epidemic at the time, further affirming its influence in that decade. The slick guitars and soothing electronics give an almost GTA: Vice City vibe to them, making it easy to imagine having this play through your car radio as you drive around the eponymous location. All of this manages to exemplify the creativity and style of Sweet White, an act that stands out as one of the most unique and, yes, best that Scotland has to offer.

Record labels, please, give this band an LP to work their magic on: you’d be doing yourselves and the Scottish music scene a favour.

8.5/10


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Track Review: Vistas – Strong Swimmer

Written by Andrew Barr (@weeandreww)

It’s not difficult to appreciate why the tag of “hot new band” can be a little daunting for a new band making its first steps in music. A band would understandably want to hold onto this status for as long as possible, but there isn’t exactly a handbook on how to. Bands could gig and tour relentlessly, but there’s the risk that fans could become bored and the band could stagnate. Another avenue could be by releasing new music – but that is obviously laced with pitfalls, should the material not be up to scratch.

A band who seem to have done a bit of both and avoided any pitfalls are Edinburgh pop-rock outfit Vistas. It’s easy to forget that the band’s debut single Sign Language was released only last year, showcasing the band’s exceptional pop sensibilities when writing indie rock tracks. Since then, the band has released a full EP, Medicine, as well as the single, Feel Alive, in addition to gigging anywhere and everywhere and building their reputation as a live act.

Strong Swimmer is the latest track in Vistas prolific run and lives up to the lofty expectations of all their previous releases. Even this early in the band’s career, it feels like a “good old Vistas track” in the best possible way. It’s another big, fun, pop-rock track, with the verses carried by a lively drum beat before the massive chorus kicks in, perhaps Vistas catchiest yet, as it feels imbedded in your brain after the first listen.

Vistas are gaining an excellent live reputation, gaining support slots for bands like The View and Clean Cut Kid and Strong Swimmer feels like it will be an integral part of upcoming gigs, especially as the final chorus features some huge “oh-oh-oh” backing vocals which seem tailor-made for the crowd to chant at band’s ever-growing gigs, such as an appearance at TRNSMT Festival.

When playing gigs as big as The Barrowlands and releasing tracks as huge as Strong Swimmer, it seems unlikely that Vistas will be relinquishing that “hot new band” tag anytime soon.

8/10


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ALBUM REVIEW: WAVVES – YOU’RE WELCOME

By Dominic V. Cassidy(@lyre_of_apollo)

Unquestionably fun and full of life, firing pop laser beams of who cares at no one in particular, Wavves shine very brightly, however short the release feels. The Californian rockers, whose songs are steeped in happy little tunes and jingles, are definitely going for a new vibe here on their latest LP You’re Welcome, something that was arguably needed. The band’s last release – 2015’s V – was a great, fast, angry rock album, and You’re Welcome does build on this, creating a genuinely enjoyable pop-punk album; however, the sheer uniformity to previous releases can create an amount of monotony.

This is no declaration that You’re Welcome is a bad album. Quite the contrary, in fact, it’s a decent album and does prove Wavves to be one of the more consistent bands going right now, in the way they release anthemic music so regularly, and to such a high standard though, sadly, consistency doesn’t always mean improvement.

The album certainly has many influences from the pop music world, which does do it a heap of good, sticking closer to building keyboard crescendos, and harmonies, and maybe staying away from the long shouting seen in V. You’re welcome doesn’t immediately appear to be this way however, its intro track Daisy, is all you could hope for in a pop song, it’s happy and full of vigor, ready to go, go go; and through this it does lose the more punk sensibilities Wavves have gathered over the years, and by the time you get to track 10: Under, you are in a world of pure sound-pop electronic bliss.

As far as the tracks go, they are generally jam worthy, exemplifying the kind of stoner-surf-ness that Wavves do quite well. The first track of the album as mentioned previously, Daisy, is a good template for the rest of the album, with frontman Nathan Williams singing about needing someone, and just leaving everything; it definitely does have a wee dash of existentialism about it, especially in the line: “Despite what it might mean, I’m not worrying grinning through the teeth,” which does add to the kind of cinematic sense of adventure in the track; making hugely enjoyable, and stand out right at the start.

Another great track on the album is No Shade, a song almost entirely based around sitting by a pool drinking lemonade, honestly if you removed the (fantastic) riffing guitars and the heavy drums, this could easily be a pop song; further proving how well Wavves take this in their stride. The whole vibe of getting the girl, drinking lemonade at a lake house, and not giving a fuck, could be too clichéd, but it does work well, as a kind of coming of age summer song.

As with most albums, there is a gradient that applies to the tracks that place them to the listener on an intrinsic sliding scale of good, and bad. While You’re Welcome does have many songs verging more to the prior, and lacking any extremely awful ones, there are a couple which the listener may find somewhat lacking. Stupid In Love does give a go at exemplifying the low points of the album and wrapping it with a neat little bow with a junkie named Lola. The song does start promising more divergence, and a deep dive into the pop veins running through the album, but once the first chorus is gone, all the life is gone. The song is made up mostly of “La la la” ‘s and “Stupid in love,” ‘s, leaving the track sounding more like unedited samples rather than a thought out piece of music.

You’re Welcome is exactly what you may think it is if you have any experience with the band: it is a solid pop-rock album which strayed from the bands angrier tone, adopting a more poppy visage, giving a new sound. While there are poor songs on the album, it is generally to the high standard, both in terms of production and quality, that is expected of the band.  While it does more or less continue with the band’s style, its baby step sized departures do hold some promise for the band’s assured future in the industry.

7/10

BEST TRACKS: Under, Daisy, Million Enemies, Animal

WORST TRACKS: Stupid In Love, Hollowed Out


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