By Nicholas Coyne
The liberating, breezy sound of Pale Waves is not the result of happenstance. The Rising UK band, who have toured with The 1975 and are frequently referred to as the country’s next great pop sensation, have honed in on a musical style that calls on the despondence of The Cure, but blown out by a trail of percussion-driven, synth-worn anthems, like their debut single “There’s a Honey,” and, a recent track off of their upcoming EP, “New Years’ Eve.” There is a distinct quality of growth in the music of Pale Waves; whether it comes from lyrics conjuring reflection and solitude or creating a danceable soundscape to live with those very personal feelings. Founding band members Heather Baron-Gracie and Ciara Doran are not ones to sit with their newfound success, wanting to secure commercial success that would, ultimately, enable them a future where they may guide the sonic revitalization of popular British rock.
There has been plenty of stops and starts for the band that would contribute to a restlessness to grow. With years of demos being recorded and scrapped, in addition to a revolving lineup anchored by Baron-Gracie and Doran, Pale Waves have found the perfect time to open up their musical world to a captive audience slowly until the debut album is ready.
Partly inspired by the music of an ’80s American coming-of-age film, Pale Waves look to be a source of music that lets people lean into their emotion and embracing the ebbs and flows. It is evident the group understands the power of music and how they want to contribute to the escapism and positive impact pop music can have on the downtrodden spirit. Their unabashed love of pop music and willingness to define themselves has brought them to a position as the UK’s most buzzing band, as their commitment to their careers gives fans a mentality where they can always look forward to something new from the band, whether it’s their seemingly endless touring, their EP out on Tuesday, the 20th, or their highly-anticipated debut LP, out later this year.
Stay tuned for an exclusive playlist on Wednesday and Q&A with the band on Friday. But, before the band emerges on the world’s stage this year, let’s take a quick look back of all the music they’ve released thus far.
The band’s debut single, “There’s a Honey,” is one of a collection of demos made by the band around the formation in 2014. It is not on the forthcoming EP, but serves as a perfect foundation for the sound the band has continued to grow. Sonically, it contains a breeziness in sound, but the lyrics register feelings of romantic doubt that serve as a consistent theme in the group’s music. There is always a catharsis in the emotive pop styling the band employs and “There’s a Honey” will always be remembered as a proper introduction for the band.
“Television Romance” is a lush track that communicates the feelings of a distanced, unrequited love over layered synths and driving guitars, taking some sonic cues from the producer Matt Healy’s group, The 1975. The vocal performance of lead Baron-Gracie cements her potential to be a singer responsible for instantly familiar hooks for years to come.
“New Year’s Eve” is a quintessential lovesick track. It oozes with sentimentality, equipped with twinkling keys and a percussion that swings around to keep you moving, but never is lost in it’s rich instrumentation. It’s a succinct song meant to mend a broken heart and it is executed to perfection.
“My Obsession” addresses the uncomfortable idea of how to cope with death of a loved ones after decades of companionship, inspired Baron-Gracie’s own grandparents. It is their most arena-ready song, waiting to be beckoned amongst a crowd of similarly longing spirits.
“The Tide” conjures the most distinct imagery of the group’s musical output, there is a clear development in the song’s combination of metaphor and more complex rhythmic patterns. Where the group’s initial offerings expanded upon their love of ’80s pop, “The Tide” is a step towards carving out a very distinct Pale Waves sound. Emotionally charged and with exuberant melodies, it is understood Pale Waves are here to be timeless.