Pale Waves – Who Am I album review by Chris High
Following an album that reached #1 in the UK Indie Chart is no mean undertaking. That said, Manchester band Pale Waves are no ordinary outfit. Tight as a drum, smooth as silk and as relevant as a newsflash, that’s where the cliché’s stop with this four piece founded by drummer Ciara Doran while at university.
Who Am I? is, on the face of it and on first listen, a pigeonholeable collection of some pretty decent songs. Give it second, third or fourth whirl, however, and you’ll find that what lies beneath is a cultured collection riddled with an angst tailor made for those venturing into student bars the country over … once they’re allowed to open, that is.
She’s My Religion is a poppy catch all that ticks several requisite boxes, with Heather Baron-Gracie’s superb vocals bouncing and cajoling through the speakers like a juggernaut without brakes. In contrast, Odd Ones Out holds echoes of Alanis Morrisette in its soul searching, synth-backed yearning.
If there’s a problem, though, it lies in the lack of identity in the tunes themselves. Yes they’re good and very, very listenable and well produced. The thing is, for all the pros there are a number of distinct cons that detract from the overall brilliance this album could so easily be. Chiefly, they resemble and ring like too many others saying the same thing to an audience already soaked to capacity with more of the same.
This said, however, if the title – and closing – track, Who Am I?, is to go by then the future bodes well. Superbly constructed, deeply moving and magnificently composed, Doran’s drums, Hugo Silvani’s keys and Charlie Wood’s bass underscoring Baron-Gracie’s lacerating vocals combine and stir the soul wonderfully well.
All things considered, Who Am I? is a decent turnout of ten evenly written, well matched compositions and one absolute blinder. When the balance switches, then Pale Waves will be rightly and justifiably riding high on a crest of their own making. Out 12th Feb.
Fall To Pieces
She’s My Religion
Wish U Were Here
You Don’t Own Me
I Just Needed You
Odd Ones Out
Who Am I?
PALE WAVES have also released their new single, YOU DON’T OWN ME, taken from the band’s forthcoming second album WHO AM I? set for release on 12 February via Dirty Hit.
“You Don’t Own Me is a song for women about what it’s like to be a woman in this world. How society depicts, judges and criticises women on a daily basis,” says frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie. “This song is incredibly important to me and I wanted to represent my own experiences. I also wanted to say a big fuck you to everyone that plays by these fake delusional rules that women and gender need to fit inside a specific box.”