The Student Playlist

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REVIEW: Pale Waves – ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ (Dirty Hit)


In a sentence:

Pale Waves deliver their long-awaited debut ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ that has you reminiscing over your long forgotten indie-pop obsessions – in both good and bad ways.

Pale Waves, formed in 2014 by leading lady Heather Baron-Gracie and drummer Ciara Doran, later joined by bassist Charlie Wood and guitarist Hugo Silvani, shook up the underground music scene last year. Considering that the band was signed by the independent record label Dirty Hit in early 2017, the Manchester-based band took their opportunities and ran with them. The band’s first release ‘There’s A Honey’ reached indie-pop lovers everywhere and launched the band onto many an ‘up and coming’ radar. They toured with label-buddies The 1975, released their second single ‘Television Romance’ and toured as headliners in late 2017, playing 21 shows in four weeks. All without an album or EP, which is quite impressive.

Earlier this year Pale Waves finally released an EP All The Things I Never Said, which was well received among fans, radio and critics alike. The band was playing shows, getting featured in magazines, interviewed and getting promo left and right. That being said, Pale Waves had to not waste any time and deliver a full length project while they were still generating steam. All this taken into consideration, is My Mind Makes Noises worthwhile? Well, after listening to the album front to back a few times… we’re not sure.

You cannot deny that Pale Waves are striking. The songs are good, beats are catchy, lyrics relatable. Saying that, My Mind Makes Noises is quite a difficult case for me. On one hand, the record is very near-perfect – Baron-Gracie’s vocals, silky and tugging on your heart-strings from time to time in the sadder moments of the album, accompanied by flawless production really makes you believe that you’re hearing something truly outstanding. Like the very best moments of Chvrches, their catchiness really pull you in once you let it.

But once you go past the fifth song, you suddenly realize you’re essentially listening to the same song over and over again. Pale Waves have taken the formula to make a song catchy, used it on a good chunk of songs, thus, making every song repetitive. Lyrically, it goes from okay to lacking originality and delivering a metaphor we’ve heard times before, like finally seeing things in colour once you’ve met the one, to the listener questioning whether the whole point of making the song was a cool guitar solo and then just throwing some lyrics at the wall for laughs, like in the song ‘Drive’ (“I drive fast so I can feel something / I ruin my own life just for nothing / I fall in and out of love with everything / I really don’t know what I’m doing”). It’s all the things you’ve heard as a teenager when you were obsessed with pop, indie and/or pop-rock bands.

The album’s production and overall sound becomes a problem after a while too. Sure, the riffs are good and some of them are very fun, but it feels like the album has been double-dipped in something that strips albums of any kind of personality there could potentially be in a promising band. My Mind Makes Noises was in part produced by Matty Healy of The 1975, and it shows. Very much. To listen to the same tune and sentiment over and over again for 50 minutes is too much to ask for from a person. It’s a record that every indie pop band or artist has – very forgettable, very generic, but you can’t say it isn’t fun or catchy while it’s actually happening.

My Mind Makes Noises had all the ingredient of a really solid debut and was very much anticipated, but sadly, it falls a bit short. Pale Waves show a great deal of potential in constructing a catchy song, but there’s too much polish on top of it. Whether it’s the production, lyrics, delivery – something smells generic / overthought / overproduced / over-rehearsed. Regardless, Pale Waves did not make a bad record, and the amount of talent, work and promise on display means there’s still excitement to see what they have up their sleeve and how they can step it up. Because this record shows, in parts, that they are very much capable. (6/10) (Guste Jakimaviciute)

Listen to My Mind Makes Noises by Pale Waves here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

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