Wednesday, 22 February 2017

New Music: Introducing - Pale Waves

Pop music’s a funny old thing, isn’t it?

Or at least pop music is a funny old thing when it comes down to defining yourself by the bands that really mean something to you and those that don’t.

Take The 1975. They’re a band that seem to mean an awful lot to an increasingly large number of people. They’re an oddity; as a group, they inspire the same sort of obsessive fan base that the likes of Bieber or pre-split Take That had and yet they also have the seal of approval of many critics, music bloggers and the like. Their pretentiously titled (and for the record, I don’t use the word pretentious as a criticism, I love pretentiousness in pop music, otherwise it would be boring) second album I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It was a commercial big hitter and found its way onto the Mercury Prize list. They sell out arena sized shows and get very good reviews for them. In an age when new bands are struggling to assert themselves over the deluge of solo artists, The 1975 are succeeding.

Yet they really don’t mean anything to me. They’re one of those acts that I just don’t get. Every music fan has a few of these. I’ve never really got Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin or more recently Rihanna. It’s not that I dislike any of these artists, they’re just a bit ‘shoulder shrug’ to me. I’ve even seen The 1975 live in the hope of understanding why people adore them, but they didn’t connect. Sure, Love Me, The Sound and Chocolate are all very good radio-friendly if somewhat unoriginal singles, but they don’t grab me in the heart as they clearly do for many. For me their latest album, whilst having moments of some interest, is way too long and becomes a snoozefest by the end. And although it doesn’t have anything to do with the music, I do find Matt Healy a tad annoying – although to be fair the lad does seem to realise it himself: “I’m surprised no one has ever punched me in the face,” he said once. "I am a bit of a knob," he told the Guardian in an interview last year.

So, when a couple of days ago I heard a new song that sounded remarkably like The 1975 with a female singer the alarm bells began to ring. Why? Because, I discovered that the track was produced by Matt Healy and George Daniel from the band. By rights I shouldn’t like it. But I did. More than that, I loved it. Maybe The 1975 were finally going to win me over, but from an alternative route than their own music. 

The group in question is Manchester reverb and glitter indie-pop quartet Pale Waves, who are Heather Baron-Gracie (vocals, guitar), Ciara Doran (drums), Hugo Silvani (guitar) and Charlie Wood (bass). They've been around for some time now, first under the name Creek before changing to their current moniker, with tracks like Heavenly, The Tide, Dangerous and Lust picking up some traction on blogs from as far back as 2014. Since that time, they’ve signed with Dirty Hit records (home of The 1975 and The Japanese House) deleted those old songs and this week release There’s A Honey as their first official single. It is 100% catchy. Once you’ve heard the “I would give you my body, but am I sure that you want me?” line once it will be lodged in your head all day. A piece of radiant pop that will make your day all the more better.

Pale Waves - There's A Honey

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