You know how the Goth look is on trend right now? Not the classic, elegant Gothic fashions, it’s more edgy late-seventies/eighties phase or the spooky stylings of Marilyn Manson, good Lord no! We mean the watered down facsimile of Goth that has hit the high street in the last couple of years, adopted by all the kids who used to beat up, bully and belittle anyone who so much as wore a My Chemical Romance t-shirt (yes, we know MCR aren’t Goth, but we’re trying to make a point here), who are now all trying to cram in as much faux-darkness into their look as possible to stay on trend.
Well, now it would appear that they have a soundtrack that ticks all the aesthetic boxes, whilst remaining comfortably within the realms of radio friendly Pop music, provided by Pale Waves, a band we’ve been following for the last eighteen months and have fallen quite in love with, despite the perhaps unfavourable comparisons. After a run of brilliant singles and an EP that is, to quote the great Nigel Thornberry, smashing, my hopes were high and my excitement was real when it came to their debut album ‘My Mind Makes Noises‘. I counted down the days until it’s launch and when Friday 14th Spetember 2018 finally came around, I could barely wait to finally treat my ears to the brilliant tunes of Heather Baron Gracie and the gang. Eagerly, I unwrapped my copy and put it into the stereo, almost trembling with excitement.
Then, after hearing it once, I took it out of my stereo and sighed a weary sigh. Surely there must have been some kind of mistake? I’m pretty sure I didn’t order a particularly dull and repetitive, angst laden tribute to The 1975 did I? Sure, I know that their frontman was at the front of getting Pale Waves into the public eye and assisted in their production, but this surely couldn’t be the album I had waited for so patiently? I held onto my disbelief, hoping that when I sat down for a few more listens so as to write this review, it would at least grow on me.
Which is a shame.
Upon each listen, I couldn’t help shake off the feeling that perhaps I just simply wasn’t the band’s target demographic. That as much as I love a good old angst-fest, that what was on offer here was something that I’ve simply grown out of. Hell, when you hear the lyric that quite literally says “No one seems to understand (understand, understand)“, heard in ‘Drive“, you know that you’ve got a top-tier ticket to the teen-angst ball! Hell, even the slightly more creative wordplay such as “I knew from the very first time I saw you, you liked crying in your room for something to do“, as heard on ‘Came In Close‘ seem to be trying to paint out the idea of the tortured soul of a bleak romantic, yet just sound like the sort of vague, meaningless bulls*** made for quoting on Tumblr posts.
The music does very little to help save things either. Whilst nothing here is offensively bad, there seems to have been very little imagination put into any of the composition formulas. Jangly Indie guitars swell up to big choruses that all seem to strive for sing-along status, most of which will probably be achieved. There’s a couple of catchy melodies and pleasant ideas on display, but this is lost in a haze of repetition and a lack of drive through the album. Each song melts into the next, with only a couple of exceptions in the form of previously heard singles ‘Television Romance‘ and ‘Kiss‘ breaking away from the cruise-control setting.
So overall, is ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ worth listening to? Well… Yeah, I guess. It’s inoffensive, but that only exacerbates how dull it is. All we have to say is that for the next album, we hope these guys explore their own sound a little bit more and leave their ties to The 1975 behind them, because frankly, although this is more miss than hit, there’s some serious potential just underneath the surface.