Pale Waves – My Mind Makes Noises
Eldritch’s law states: if it looks like goth it is goth. And Pale Waves look EXACTLY like goths, from the tops of their blacker than black backcombed barnets to the tippy-tips of their pointy boots. Goth goth goth GOTH. But if there’s one thing besides coiffure and costumery that goths take dead seriously, it’s the music: lashings of drum machines, dry ice, spindly guitar lines, preferably fronted by spindly-legged proto-consumptive poète maudits. It’s kind of their thing.
Well, it turns out that, while Pale Waves have all the visual accoutrements of gothdom, there is little of its musical commitment. In fact, the band seem gravely serious about making a perfect pop record. This album is fatally hooky, catchier than Robert Smith’s hair in a balloon museum; ‘Drive’ is a 1000 miles an hour pop rush, all twinkly synth lines and huge guitar lines polished to a highly expensive sheen, until you can see your face in them.
‘Kiss’ boasts a deliciously chunky bass topped with a sumptuously whipped Heather Baron-Gracie vocal. The whole record is liberally sprinkled with top flight producer EDM ear candy, techno vocal nips and tucks, little risers that lead into machine-tooled choruses, echoes that go on to infinity, finity, finity, finity…
Okay. So maybe the album’s 50-minute run time is a little long, and some of the songs might be a little bit samey, leaving you feeling a bit queasy like you’ve scarfed down a huge carrier bag full of pink candy floss. In one go. And washed it down with a bucket of neon-glowing energy drink. Basically, this album bratishly demands that you put aside any gothic aspirations and just surrender to the gloss. If you don’t collapse dramatically into Pale Waves’ open arms, you’ve probably never lived or loved or lost, or don’t feel like celebrating that fact with a super-saturated high-pop glossy sheen. If this is the case, maybe you should just put down the hairspray and crimpers and go out into the sunlight and meet some (hyper) real people. Y’know, start living a bit. I’m trying to resist the temptation to award this album 666, so I’ll give it a highly addictive 9.
9/10 Julian Crockford