It’s the 13th November 2017 – I’m working a quiet shift at work, listening to the radio. I’d been idly listening to it, not paying much attention: a mention of a band similar to The 1975, going on tour with them, endorsed by Matt Healy, perhaps the name Pale Waves? I wasn’t really invested in what the presenter was saying. Then, they played one of their songs – ‘New Year’s Eve’. This is when I started to take notice. This song was amazing. I loved the voice, the guitar, the whole instrumental, the catchy chorus. I was straight onto Spotify, downloaded it, and the rest of their extremely limited range of music – a total of three songs. The aforementioned ‘New Year’s Eve’, ‘Television Romance’ and ‘There’s A Honey’.
This excited me: I’d caught an unbelievable band just as they were starting up. This is a very satisfying feeling when you can support a band from their beginnings and through their future successes. I told my dad about them and he also became obsessed, and at the start of January we’d booked tickets to see them in Cambridge. This was an incredibly small underplay from the band in a tiny, tiny venue – playing their 4/5 released songs and, excitingly, a few unreleased ones. They were as good as the rest of their material – and that is very high praise.
It’s been a long time since I liked a band this much, and quickly booked tickets for a headline one-off show at Heaven in London in May. This was a more conventional gig with large crowds, big lighting and sound and it was a pleasure to experience.
It showed me that Pale Waves were the real deal: just as good live as they sound on their recordings, a band with infectious energy and frankly, amazing music. Heather’s voice is mind-blowing, full of emotion and power, clear undertones of Matt Healy influence in the way she plays with her voice and adapts it to the different moods and tones of Pale Waves’ music; whilst aesthetically they are very gothic and dark, Heather and Ciara’s spooky makeup and Hugo and Charlie’s creepy aura making them seem one way, their music is very diverse and covers a wide spectrum of feelings and topics.
Pale Waves are described as indie pop, and their big instrumentals, brilliant lyricism and Heather’s voice create an original and powerful sound which is memorable and addictive. It’s music that you can listen to anywhere anytime, and in any mood. The songs show an insight into Heather’s mind; we see portrayals of love in her mind, the good and bad, and the naivety of young love. In ‘Noises’, she delves deeper, confessing relatable themes of our brains working against us, and shies away from the theme of love which occupies so much of their music.
‘Heavenly’, ‘The Tide’ and ‘My Obsession’ show happier and optimistic sides to love, whilst ‘Television Romance’ and ‘New Year’s Eve’ are the opposite and show the thoughts of someone with doubts and negativity in romantic situations. Heather is great at telling stories, and can whisk you away to a place, a time or even a conversation with her lyrics, so you can picture yourself there. Especially in young-love-based songs ‘Kiss’, ‘Eighteen’ and ‘There’s A Honey’, we live vicariously through young Heather reminiscing of times past, and like with all Pale Waves’ songs, the stories and music are intertwined in perfect balance. They give us everything you can want from their music.
I don’t say this lightly: every one of those 9 released singles are sensational. When I have their music on shuffle there’s not a single song I skip, that I don’t want to listen to. The instrumentals and production are amazing and induce a euphoric feeling inside you, an infectious desire to dance and sing along and embrace yourself in the music. Another huge appeal of Pale Waves is that they are so original; there’s no one to compare them to – perhaps The 1975 for their clear influence, but Pale Waves have their own distinct sound that is unique to them and instantly recognisable.
The fact that their debut album, My Mind Makes Noise, features 9 – yes, 9 – new songs is ridiculously exciting. They’ve kept the songs from their EP All The Things I Never Said off the album, to keep them collectable and exclusive to that EP, an approach used by The 1975 with their early music too. This creates a lot of excitement for the new album as the music they’ve released already is this good, and their catalogue of music is about to double in size. For any music fan, if a band you like is releasing that much new music, it’s bloody exciting.
I love Pale Waves, and I can’t wait to see them live again in the future. I will continue listening to their music on repeat, and eagerly anticipating the upcoming album which we will be blessed with on 14th September this year. I hope this post has shed some light on their brilliance, although I fear this was just a post of me shamelessly fangirling. Give their music a try; you won’t regret it.