Wave Machines – Wave If You’re Really There (Neopolitan) 15/06/2009

July 1, 2009 by  


There are albums that work perfectly as a body of work, where you can isolate one song and listen to it, but the effect of listening to the whole album is greater than the sum of its parts. Albums like The Bends, Dark Side of the Moon, Leftism. They?re a rare and wonderful thing. You know the kind; if you play them on shuffle they just don?t work because of how they flow. And then there are albums with smashing tunes on, but, be it down to the order of the tracks or because of weak filler, that is all they are, an album with some great tunes on. Regretfully, Wave Machines first outing, ?Wave If You?re Really There?, has pitched up in the latter field.

Wave Machines? debut is an exciting find, but it misfires at the beginning. There?s a reoccurring theme of a stop-start approach to the pace that?s off putting, and the first track ?You Say the Stupidest Things?, doesn?t do what an opening track should, that is, grab the listener?s attention. It?s the middle of the album where the good stuff lies. By the time you?ve chomped through the bread to the jammy centre, it is welcome sweet respite to a mouthful of bland.

By track three, the tempo has warmed to a jog; year?s single ?I Go I Go I Go?, and although upbeat enough, it?s a bit irritating if truth be told. Once the initial opening cluster of tracks are out the way the album steps up a gear, and although it?s a stop start pace, some cracking tracks follow. ?Keep the Lights On? begins with a sinister staccato bass line and pretty soon breaks into disco, but it?s restrained and all the sexier for it. On to the next track and the upward swing continues. ?Where?s My Punk Spirit? is a heart rending indie anthem to lost will, and although it?s incongruous with the rest of the altogether more electro album, it?s a sign that they?re a dextrous and talented bunch of lads.

The luscious jammy centre doesn?t let up just yet, with ?The Greatest Escape We Ever Made? keeping up the tail, but the album soon falls victim to the chump who was in charge of the track listing once again, with down tempo come down of ?Wave If You?re Really There? spoiling the party for everyone.

?I Joined A Union? sounds like it?s sung by the mice choir from Bagpuss, which, not being five, feels like using stinging nettles as earplus, and had me reaching for the skip button with haste, but all of a sudden the pace is given the boot back into bouncy with an 80?s synth and calypso-esque cocktail, ?The Line?, and who doesn?t like an 80?s calypso cocktail? Finally the album ebbs away with the sobering, growing brilliance of ?Dead Houses?.

Unfortunately, summing up ?Wave If You?re Really There? boils down to an unrealised dream, a case of what could have been. Yeah, it?s good, but just reshuffling the tracks, and a little more toil and we?d have something spectacular on our plates, something more than the dry jam sandwich they?ve served.


By Hannah Lanfear