“We sat on the corner kissing each other // Felt like I could finally see in colour” – the poignant lyrics of ‘Eighteen’, the opening track of four-piece indie band Pale Waves‘ debut album, encapsulate the very age they set out to. The slow, downbeat tone of each verse, contrasted with the upbeat, fast-paced chorus mirrors the highs and lows of teenage years, and tells a story of love and loneliness that everyone can relate to.
But Pale Waves teenage years didn’t exactly follow the conventional route of many. With singer/guitarist Heather and drummer Ciara meeting at university in Manchester, Hugo and Charlie joined shortly after the pair released their first demos, and in the space of four years the band have toured with the likes of The 1975, signed to Dirty Hit and gained the attention of Xfm and Radio One.
With each single released, the group have perfected their sound, cultivating a style so succinct it borders on their own genre, and simultaneously gaining their own cult following. Each song is a subtle reference to another, the lyrics of ‘Loveless Girl’ referring to a “television breakthrough” not too dissimilar to the concept used in ‘Television Romance’. With that said, part of me was concerned that in an album consisting of fourteen tracks, made by a band whose music is so distinct, we would hear the same sounds repeated and lack a freshness that is usually so evident in a band’s first studio release.
I needn’t have worried. The electronic vibes of ‘Came In Close’ introduce a new, more daring dimension to the band’s music, the backbeat, ever catchy bass riffs and distinctive drum beats reassuring the listener with elements of the old familiar alongside the new. Songs such as ‘When Did I Lose It All’ and ‘She’ provide a fitting contrast to the pop-tones of many of the album’s tracks. However, it’s the final piece, ‘Karl (I Wonder What It’s Like To Die)’ that allows us an insight into the complexity of emotions involved in some of the group’s writing. An emotional tribute to a brother and without a doubt the most poignant on the album, the track consists only of an acoustic guitar riff and Heather’s raw vocals, and is a stark contrast to the feel-good pop tunes that form the majority of the album.
Overall, ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ is an uncomplex collection of indie party bangers, documenting the highs and lows of a messy and love-filled teenage life. It fills it’s purpose exactly as desired. Although the last track, however simple and stripped back, forces us to wonder if the future holds music a bit less cliche from Pale Waves.
Pale Waves’ debut My Mind Makes Noises is released on Friday September 14th, and is available to pre-order now. The band also set off on an extensive UK tour this autumn, including a headline show at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. For more info and tickets head to the Pale Waves website.