ALBUM REVIEW: The Waeve – The Waeve

3.0 rating
The Waeve

The Waeve sees Blur‘s Graham Coxon team up with Rose Elinor Dougall, of The Pipettes, to release their debut eponymous collection of ten songs that travel through genres. Elements of jazz, punk and rock combine on a record that at times overwhelms but ultimately showcases their creative talents.

The duo have taken the opportunity to operate outside their usual comfort zones by challenging themselves with an array of instruments not usually associated with the pair. Despite having made his name as Blur’s guitarist, Coxon playing the saxophone is prevalent throughout the record, having been one of the first instruments he learnt to play. Dougall also features on piano and an ARP 2000 modular synth. Their debut effort has been produced by James Ford, known for his work with acts such as Arctic Monkeys and Foals.

Opening song ‘Can I Call You’ begins tenderly as a ballad accompanied by mournful saxophone before exploding into sound and finishing with a blazing Coxon guitar solo. Lyrically, themes of personal reflection are prevalent throughout the record, with the opener having the anguished line, “I’m sick of being in pain” leave an effect.

The first introduction of synthesizer beats comes in ‘Kill Me Again’ before ‘Over and Over’ provides a relaxed jazz feel. The pair seem to bring together the elements of experimentation most successfully on the highlight of the album, ‘Sleepwalking’. The song sees jazz saxophone teamed with synths, while Dougall’s alluring vocal laments “we can’t go back to the good old days” yet is keen to look towards the future, “face the facts, we’ve got to find new ways”.

Anguish is displayed on ‘Drowning’, the unease presented in lyrics such as, “I’m drowning again, hold onto me as the waters rise” is matched with a combination of agitated guitar and saxophone backing. Any angst is quickly put to one side though as “Someone Up There”, an almost spoken word number, shows The Waeve at their most confrontational, backed by an electronic drum machine.

The album then takes a medieval turn on ‘All Along’, through which Coxon plays a cittern, a lute first developed in the 16th Century. The song is most noteworthy however for the ethereal vocal harmonisations that bring it to a close.

Towards the end of the record, a more subtle, gentle feel radiates. Peaceful strings draw the curtain down on ‘Alone And Free’, while there’s a sense of being at peace with the line, “I’d rather be alone and free”. Closer ‘You’re All I Want To Know’ is a heartfelt love song that prominently features the line, “So stick around, we’re getting deeper now”, which could perhaps be taken as a metaphor for the duo’s recording future as The Waeve.

While some may find it a formidable listen at first, the album keeps the intrigue with a series of unexpected turns. That said, it is unlikely to become a regular go-to album, but it can certainly be appreciated for showcasing for diverse array of talents that both Coxon and Dougall possess and shine throughout The Waeve’s debut effort.

 

Xsnoize Author
Alex Hoggard 30 Articles
Having started about music by reviewing live performances for Pearl Jam fansites, led to writing for the band's official website which led to writing gig and album reviews for a number of music sites and local newspapers. Enjoying an eclectic taste in genres has been found to relieve the stresses of following Hull Kingston Rovers RLFC!Favourite bands/artists include; Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Brad, The Levellers, Stone Roses, Oasis, Harvey Danger, London Grammar, Ride & Manic Street Preachers to name but a few! Favourite album: Yield - Pearl Jam.

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