Pale Waves – Unwanted (Album Review)

Pale Waves – Unwanted (Album Review)

Another contemporary band, Pale Waves was formed in 2014. Turning heads since releasing a couple of albums and EPs, the Manchester, England based band currently consists of Heather Baron-Gracie (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards), Clara Doran (drums, keyboards, synthesizers), Hugo Silvani (lead guitar, keyboards), and Charlie Wood (bass, keyboards). Continuing to move forward, in only four years’ time they have come up with three studio albums – from 2018’s My Mind Makes Noises to the soon to be released Unwanted.

Slated for release on Friday, August 12, 2022, via Dirty Hit Records, Unwanted is a powerhouse blend of the frenetic fun of 2000s Pop Punk and the grating guitar angst of ’90s Alternative Rock. Complete with thirteen new songs, it opens straight away with the angst-ridden rockin’ stomper “Lies,” one of the album’s singles. After the angular title-track then follows the initially unassuming, semi-acoustic “The Hard Way,” which builds up into a glowing, breakneck ballad.

Pale Waves then launches into the lyrically dark but rhythmically cheery and jagged-edged “Jealousy,” which exudes faint echoes of Elastica’s “Connection,” Jill Sobule’s “Supermodel,” and Echobelly’s “Great Things.” Ensuing next is “Alone” and then “Clean”–nostalgic throwbacks to the 2000s; think of Avril Lavigne and Natalie Imbruglia during their carefree heyday. And then there is the slow, poignant, piano-led ballad “Without You.”

With the driving, machine gun rhythm of “Only Problem,” Pale Waves then returns the listener to adrenaline mode. Aptly following is the Grunge-stylized “You’re So Vain” and then “Reasons to Live,” whose burst of energy is enough to sustain the sonic momentum. “Numb” is another slow, romantic affair, in which Baron-Gracie’s voice soars like a tortured soul33.

The penultimate track, “Act My Age” comes off as an aural tribute to the likes of Blink-182, Good Charlotte, and Simple Plan. Finally, Pale Waves closes Unwanted with the heartrending and starry-eyed sound of “So Sick (Of Missing You),” ultimately proving that the album is a powerhouse from start to finish.

The innovative Pale Waves shows that familiar yet groundbreaking music comes not only from the olden days but also from the younger generation of equally driven bands. All the artist needs is to muster the sonic spirits of his musical heroes and then use all these to inspire him into creating his own aural art. Pale Waves’ latest offering is a prime example of the effectively alluring result of this alchemical process. For these reasons Cryptic Rock gives Unwanted 4 out of 5 stars.

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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