It could be argued that a lot of bands nowadays go out of their way to make laboured, unnatural records just to stand out in their genre, so my appreciation of indie rock four-piece Kid Wave's debut album 'Wonderlust' cannot be overstated. This new London-based band have emerged with a record that is honest, simple and effective in regards to their 90s indie musical inspiration. Every track encompasses a different taste of some nostalgic teenage summer, throwing the listener head-first into a whirlwind of massive hooks and upbeat melodies. The cohesion of the tracks on the album, whilst not having a massive amount of variety, emphasises how tightly this band can play together and shows a sense of experience on first listen.
The husky, sonorous tones of lead vocalist Lea Emmery, which some may say sound out of place in and amongst the energy of Kid Wave, actually help the enticing nature of the band's sound. To say that a lead singer has to dominate everything about a band is a false assumption, and the opening tracks from the record 'Wonderlust' and 'Gloom' are great examples of how Emmery's vocals act as an undercurrent to the movement of the album. The versatility of drummer Serra Petale is showcased at the onset of the dynamic 'Best Friend' - another sun bleached tune of major keys and catchy melodies that has this listener daydreaming of how incredible Kid Wave must sound live.
Album highlight 'Walk on Fire' is one of the band's more interesting tracks. Mattias Bhatt's beautiful opening guitar riff is clean and deep, set awash in reverb that creates a cavernous setting for the song to permeate through. Drums slow the pace down drastically and leave you to regain your breath after the first few tracks, whilst Emmery's lyrics which speak of separation and new paths - "we've just gone our different ways" - reflect the band's ability to explore different themes and emotions. The way the song breaks out after the bridge is staggering, and leaves you fumbling for words by the time the heavy thickness of 'Baby Tiger' arrives. Fat bass riffs from Harry Deacon bulk up the track before flanger-induced wails of guitar ride on an immense wave of noise and crash to the ground like surfers wiping out.
Instruments intertwine and work harmoniously together as the next few songs unwind in the same carefree manner as the first few on the album. 'Dreaming On' marks a sad end to the experience 'Wonderlust' has taken you through. Acoustic fingerpicking and bursts of distant synth swell and fade with percussion to create a powerful atmosphere for the album to end on. As a debut LP, 'Wonderlust' ticks all the boxes and bodes well for live performances throughout their UK tour.
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