On their debut album, Dirty Hit proteges Pale Waves offer up a glamorous display of synthesised indie tunes meshed together into a raw and emo-heavy album that is a pleasure on the ears.
Pale Waves have had a fairly sudden rise to prominence over the last 12 months, earning a record deal with Dirty Hit, one of the UK’s most exciting labels, joining the likes of Wolf Alice, The Japanese House and The 1975. Their sound has been inspired by the likes of The Cure and Blondie thanks to the emo aesthetic and style of lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie, something that has been refined into the very trendy music we hear on this debut album.
The singles prior to the release were aplenty, no less than SEVEN were brought out before the album dropped so we had already heard half the tracklist? This doesn’t sit great with me because I enjoy the level of excitement with hearing new music on album release day, but at the same time I can understand why they were all released, because all of them are really good, catchy tunes. Eighteen has been gaining lots of radio play for it’s infectious dream-pop sound while Television Romance boasts some gorgeous eclectic guitar licks. Kiss, the group’s third single, is the highlight of the whole album for me and is the truest reflection of the group’s idolising of The Cure, crafting a sound that wouldn’t go amiss in the band’s 80s heyday.
While the album doesn’t have an awful lot of diversity or range in terms of the songwriting and structure, it is tough to have too many complaints with the finished article because the majority of the tracks are thoroughly enjoyable. What could well be the band’s downfall here and in the long run is how similar they sound instrumentally and artistically to The 1975, occasionally coming off as a budget imitation; but it is the simplicity and raw edge that makes Pale Waves’ music such a joyous listening experience.
There are moments of real vulnerability on the album which stand out to me, Heather sings with plenty of angst and emotion on tracks like Karl (I Wonder What It’s Like To Die) and Loveless Girl as she offers something a bit more intense than we heard on the more pop-friendly singles. While these songs aren’t say on Radiohead or LCD Soundsystem level of lyrical depth, the words being said will resonate with people, making Pale Waves somewhat of a relatable outlet to unleash your emo side.
This will never win any album of the year awards, it won’t go down in history as a masterpiece and it doesn’t have the seminal sound to make it a timeless classic; but that never struck me as the intention here. For me, My Mind Makes Noises was Pale Waves’ way of announcing themselves a trendy band with the ability to make quirky, pop-influenced emo tunes. The album can be as idiosyncratic as it is bang on trend; and for my money they have proved their worth and shown why Dirty Hit, particularly Matty Healy, rate them so highly.