Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry, Mastering by Sam Patlove
In the songs of Wave Machines, we hear oceans and whole cities - the interior chattering of an entire population's individual heads perking up, sending off red lights and fireworks, that stimulation mother lode - almost all of humanity finding wonder. The songs sound big, anthem-like, as if they should be part of a crowning moment at the next Glastonbury or T In The Park festival, garnering raves upon raves - the makers of the new chill-bump-inducing album full of songs that everyone you know is going to know. The band from Liverpool has gathered up countless good qualities and inspirations, making them into something of a hybrid that we can be appreciative of without ever feeling as if it was too familiar. They have big Killers moments, times that feel like the ridiculously underrated Coral and Wild Beasts, along with touches of the Arctic Monkeys and something of a ballad-y Coldplay aftertaste in places. That's a whole mouthful right there, but Wave Machines are more about the whole than the sum of its parts and they achieve on "Wave If You're Really There," in countless ways that have everything to do with their own fingerprints and a personality that is all their own - adding into the mix a Studio 54 disco feeling, some interesting psychedelic moments and man on an island/in turmoil thoughts. "The Greatest Escape We Ever Made" sounds as if it were made for amateur astronomers, looking up into the skies and trying to figuring it all out - trying to solve their own problems and all of the rest of our problems in one fell swoop, with a backbeat and melodic bass line that just makes us move around exhaustingly, like stupid people. We succumb to feeling the grandiose canvas out there - of all the things that we don't know about, up there in the heavens, amongst the starlight and the cosmic dust. There's an earnest bite of innocence to the song and it feels as if there's some child's play happening - with lyrics alluding to communicating with each other through tin can telephones on strings and spending all kinds of time lying on backs, blowing the clouds across the sky as if there were no such concept of time and no such worry as stress. These were sweet times, before the waves started crashing in and spoiling all of that innocence. There's an examination of broken people and the struggles that come right before the breaking, on "Punk Spirit," when Mick Jagger-sounding lead singer Tim Bruzon sing, "The only thing I've got faith in is clinging to the ground." He sings about bringing out his best white flags and wondering, in a recurring manner, where his punk spirit (essentially, his fight) is. It gets us to the intersection point between finding oneself (growing into a person) and finding that in doing so, maybe learning that you're disappointed that there's so little left of that self, after so many battles have eroded it. Either way, the Wave Machines make this realization sound as if it should be toasted to, albeit grudgingly accepted.