Review: Pale Waves pull out all the stops with debut album ‘My Mind Makes Noises’

Pale Waves – ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ – 14/09/18

Since the band was founded in 2014, there’s been a lot of noise made about Manchester indie rockers, Pale Waves. Their debut album, My Mind Makes Noises is filled to the brim with pop songs with a darker side, and coupled with some catchy synth riffs, it’s the perfect way for the band to showcase exactly who they are.

‘Eighteen’ makes a statement as the album’s opener. The track may be a little reserved in terms of Heather Baron-Gracie’s vocals, but the layers of synths and solid drums holds the song together. There’s more maturity in this record than in previous Pale Waves releases, and it’s clear that more time has been spent to ensure that each song has subtle differences which keep the music entertaining.

The brutally honest ‘Noises’ opens with soft yet clear vocals, while ‘Came In Close’ starts with sparkly keys and a solid drum beat, before switching it up and stripping things back to a pulse-like bass beat and lyrics delivered with power and emotion. The fourteen tracks Pale Waves have written and released perfectly flaunt Baron-Gracie’s powerful vocal which could easily be compared to Taylor Swift’s.

My Mind Makes Noises is filled with pop anthems infused with sleazy rock elements; ‘Drive’ shows itself to be the album’s only “real” rock song. It opens slowly but with distorted guitars and a full drum kit being played, Drive becomes a difficult song to ignore. Baron-Gracie’s vocals command you to listen closely as the lyrics tell an emotionally personal story. The songwriting and production present throughout this album are worlds away from that of the All The Things I Never Said EP that was released only a few months ago.

‘One More Time’ goes from 0 to 100 almost instantly, with the reverb on the kit drum perfectly engineered. The layers of synths are dynamic and different hooks and harmonies are played which keeps the track from feeling too stagnant and dull. ‘Television Romance’ seems to have the dance beat and funky bass line that ties the album together, but the make-up and production of synths, drums, and the intelligently written lyrics ensure that each track feels new and different.

The unusual vocal effects and pitch shifting in ‘Black’ do a lot to capture attention, and after this things quickly get loud. The bass is bulky and the steady rhythm of the kit drum unexpectedly morphs into electronic pads and relaxed synths. There are so many twists in this track, with the chorus and verses being in stark contrast of each other. Black brings together pop and rock music in a way that’s sudden and unanticipated, and once the initial surprise has worn off, you can really appreciate the musical ambition of Pale Waves.

Closing the album is ‘Karl (I Wonder What It’s Like to Die)’. This stripped back song predominantly features an acoustic guitar, and Heather Baron-Gracie’s stunning vocals. The lyrics are filled with emotion and metaphor, giving away just enough for the listener to understand the touching and

heartbreaking story. The reverb on Baron-Gracie’s voice does just enough to accentuate the lost feeling that her words are giving away.

Pale Waves have really defined themselves with this release, stepping away from their identity as a copycat of The 1975 and proving themselves able to write both emotional and enjoyable music. With songs as solid as these, Pale Waves have shown themselves to be a band you don’t want to miss out on. They’re currently on tour in the UK and we’d suggest getting yourself to a show to witness these songs the way they were made to be played.


Review: Dottie Giles

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