Pale Waves Debut Leaves a Lot to be Desired
My Mind Makes Noises is the debut album from Pale Waves. The Manchester band, originally formed as Creek in 2014, consists of; Heather Baron-Gracie, Ciara Doran, Hugo Silvani and Charlie Wood. The foursome command several genres so to speak including, goth-pop, indie-pop and synth-pop. After the release of their debut EP, All The Things I Never Said, in February of this year alongside the band’s live performances, this album has been hotly anticipated.
The debut album features the band’s earliest releases, There’s a Honey and Television Romance. These two tracks were co-produced by both Matty Healy and George Daniels of The 1975, the band being heavily involved in ‘launching’ Pale Waves. The members speaking highly of the merits of the band and having them as the support act for their shows.
These tracks are potentially the catchiest songs on the album. The songs command pleasant melodies and sing along choruses although they don’t quite have the presence of the synth-pop track, The Sound, by their co-producers band.
Other than these catchy melodies, lyrically, the album is weak. Despite the band’s unique, individualist look complete with heavy eyeliner, black lipstick and of course, pale faces. The lyrical content strikes me as being somewhat try hard in terms of striving to be relatable. However, rather than being truthfully relatable, the band being comprised of members in their early twenties with some potentially relatable things to relay to their fanbase. the words of the album seem to have been forcibly made to stand out as relatable.
In many places the lyric is difficult to listen to, it seeming to have been plucked off a 2012 Tumblr page. Just a few examples can be seen in Came in close ‘You like crying in your room for something to do’, Drive ‘I like to be alone most of the time/ Talking to myself with nobody else’ and When Did I Lose it All ‘I was fine just living my life kissing you’.
The narrative of the album is plagued with such prepubescent language, attempting to appeal to those who take such meaningless content as truth. All in all, this fabrication of supposed reality really cheapens the value of the album, making it really difficult to listen to and take seriously.
As well as lyrically being poor, the album’s sound is very repetitive. Throughout the album, different elements of production are not particularly explored to their full potential.
After a few tracks, each song’s musical production seems to almost mirror the others. Although cohesion is definitely somewhat key in making a well put together album, after a few tracks, the vocals begin to blend into one another, Grace’s vocal becoming almost annoying to listen to at length.
The only real difference seen in the album comes in its closing track, ‘Karl (I wonder what it’s like to die)’. As the only acoustic track on the album, this is the only place we see deviance from the album’s normative sound. As well as this, lyrically, the track also seems less fabricated.
Sincerity is achieved through the personal aspect explored in the song, it being centred around Heather’s grandfather’s death, the most poignant lyric. This being “But your mind was beautiful, unusual, so loveable/ But you were beautiful, unusual, so loveable”. This song seemed to be filled with genuine feeling, something I wish was more present in the rest of the album.
All in all, while not being a wholly terrible album, I would say My Mind Makes Noises is rather a disappointing release. For a debut album, the tracks do not fill me with any kind of anticipation for future releases, something which is key in establishing yourself in the industry. Despite the look of the band presenting the idea of alternativeness, the songs presented on the album are not synonymous with such ideal at all.
Words by Robyn Hartly