“All the Things I Never Said EP” by Pale Waves – Review
Review by John Wright
It’s no great sin to imitate. People say they want originality, but they don’t really mean it. If the public really wanted art that was completely original and unlike anything else David Lynch would have Steven Spielberg’s career. So when I tell you that Pale Waves’ new EP annoyed me profoundly, believe me that it’s not due to lack of originality: it’s because their imitation is bland.
What exactly it is they’re imitating is that weird, synth-y, dream pop period the Cure went through and the Cocteau Twins perfected. In practice it just sounds like every bedroom pop band ever to have emerged from the bowels of Bandcamp, only wearing more eyeliner and singing lyrics that sound like they were written by a depressed 12-year-old at a poetry workshop. Try this one from “New Year’s Eve,” my least favorite track on the EP, on for size: “I always said you were too shy/but then I went off to cry… and you found me outside/looking like somebody died.” My eyes glaze over.
There is potential here. It must be stated that we are witnessing the larval stage of Pale Waves at this present moment, as their tenure on Dirty Hit since signing to the label in 2015 has thus far yielded two singles and this EP, for a grand total of six tracks. If Pale Waves can learn to imitate with a bit more flair and personality, whether it comes through embracing their dreamier, more synth-driven tendencies, becoming a straight-up revivalist act, or morphing into The 1975 with female vocals, perhaps their debut LP will fare a little better. But that is in the future and we are in the present, and in the present, this EP is not very good.
You can tune in Fridays to hear John host the Post Punk Roc Bloc from Noon to 2 PM on WPTS Radio and follow him on Twitter @Wright_JohnP. This review was edited by Spencer Smith of the WPTS Editorial Board.