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Wave Machines - Wave If You're Really There

Wave Machines, Wave If You're Really There

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

MERSEYSIDE four-piece Wave Machines pride themselves on being able to create instinctive art-pop; rhythms built of melodic ticks and bleeps, polka dots of sound drawn together beneath Tim Bruzon’s falsetto vocal.

Their sound is correctly described as a cross between Hot Chip and The Beta Band, with extra added kookiness and wonky pop values thrown in. But it’s only intermittently successful.

When they get it right, as in former single I Go I Go I Go, they’re one of the catchiest new bands on the planet right now.

But they can equally outstay their welcome and sound a little repetitive and, well, bland.

Recorded in the bowels of the old organ room at St Brides Church in Liverpool, the album owes much to the character of that formative space.

The removal of old religious gowns from a small disused cupboard gave the band a vocal booth; the roof – or rather its view between Liverpool’s Cathedrals and out across the river – allowed the band a space to work things through; and at night the Nave became the band’s live space, hosting the poetry, art, comedy and invited musical ‘competitors’ at the band’s own night.

The camaraderie that must have created is evident on tracks like I Go I Go I Go, which positively shimmer with positivity, while the darker bass ‘n’ funk of Keep The Lights On sounds like a wonderful cross between the Beta Band and The Bee Gees or Scissor Sisters.

Punk Spirit, meanwhile, is whimsical, laidback and pretty darn cool for a rebellious kind of track, and album opener You Say The Stupidest Things trades yet more Beta Band inspired vocals with an impossibly chipper electronic loop that’s almost surreal.

But the album runs out of steam a little by the time it reaches The Greatest Escape We Ever Made, with the kooky electronics beginning to wear thin.

There’s a welcome sense of something more melancholy in the melodies of Wave If You’re Really There, but the falsettos are cranked up the plus 10 on I Joined A Union, which just becomes irritating as a result, and The Line feels like a lesser retread of I Go….

Wave Machines certainly boast some appeal and their upbeat pop is to be applauded in the current downbeat era. But they just need to stretch their sound a little more and diversify.

For now, stick with the album highlights and wait and see how they progress.

Download picks: I Go I Go I Go, Keep The Lights On, Wave If You’re Really There, You Say The Stupidest Things

Track listing:

  1. You Say The Stupidest Things
  2. Carry Me Back To My Home
  3. I Go I Go I Go
  4. Keep The Lights On
  5. Punk Spirit
  6. The Greatest Escape We Ever Made
  7. Wave If You’re Really There
  8. I Joined A Union
  9. The Line
  10. Dead Horses