Pale Waves Channel ‘80s Indie-Pop On ‘All The Things I Never Said’ EP

26 February 2018 | 8:04 pm | Alex Sievers
Originally Appeared In

If you aren’t listening to this band, you’re fucking dreaming.

If you aren’t listening to this band, you’re fucking dreaming.

One year ago, Pale Waves dropped their catchy-as-fuck debut single, ‘There’s A Honey’ on February 20th. Last Monday on February 19th, 2018, exactly one year to the day, the English quartet suddenly dropped their debut EP, the dreamy and shimmering indie-pop sounds of ‘All The Things I Never Said’.

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Much like myself, many were inducted into the nostalgic ‘80s tides of Pale Waves via the aforementioned ‘There’s A Honey’ and the now fan-favourite, go-to-belter, ‘Television Romance’. While those two songs don’t actually feature here on this debut four-track EP (that's what playlists are for), the sound and approach of that prior pair are littered all over this EP.

Harbouring a downright infectious sound that sits somewhere between dreamy synth-pop, the goth aesthetics of The Cure, the innocent nature, slick production and quirky vibes of bands like Fickle Friends, the soothing and glossy pop of The Japanese House and IDER, as well as the phasey, bright guitar work and huge melodies of their label buddies in The 1975, Pale Waves’ music is both refreshing and highly nostalgic at the same time. Comprised of guitarist/singer Heather Baron-Gracie, drummer Ciara Doran, guitarist Hugo Silvani, and bassist Charlie Wood, the Manchester quartet’s new EP lays all of this down on the proverbial table with four songs set to moody backdrops of regretful romantic messes, all ebbing and flowing between loving pop highs and bittersweet post-punky lows.

The shimmery guitars, driving bass grooves, funky rhythms, and ear-worming vocal hooks behind the up-in-the-air love tale of ‘New Year’s Eve’, one of the band's best tracks yet, Pale Waves make you dance and cry at the same time. Which is the real mission statement behind their music, of the band's own accord: “She [Ciara] said, ‘I want to make people dance at our shows and not kinda just cry: they can cry and dance", Baron-Gracie stated to NME in an interview. Which is something the group does very well with the EP's second track, the upbeat, driving and oceanic referential piece, 'The Tide'. (Get it? Cause waves and tides and shit). Elsewhere, the mid-tempo ‘My Obsession’ is a festival-suited emo-rock ballad dolled up in bright neon glitter, chirpy guitar lines, and jangly melodies, with the EP's fourth and final track, 'Heavenly' being just that: a warm, mushy and heavenly indie-pop tune that's near impossible to put down.

Look, this is a great EP. However, there's simply not enough meat on the bones of this sweet, rather solid but brutally short release. It's almost over before it begins, (it's barely 15 minutes long) and while it definitely leaves you wanting more, it does so in a frustrating way too. Also, two songs here - ‘The Tide’ and ‘Heavenly’ - actually date back to being once less polished demos from around 2015, with those quality hooks and strong songwriting skills being clearly evident even way back then. But that's the only other issue I have with this EP: it's a clear fill-in for the band's debut full-length album, going so far as to re-record and do up the band's very early material. Which is indeed coming (most likely to arrive at the very end of 2018 or perhaps in early or mid-2019) but after their two killer singles last year, I feel that more was really needed than just a four-track EP. All I'm saying is that their full-length had better fucking be the dog's bollocks!

All The Things I Never Said’ is out now, check it out below. Here's hoping that album drops sooner rather than later.