Pale Waves: My Mind Makes Noises review – making all the wrong noises

Fri, Sep 7, 2018, 05:00

   
 

Album:
My Mind Makes Noises

Artist:
Pale Waves

Label:
Dirty Hit/Interscope

Genre:
Pop

I’m struggling to remember a singer with lyrics as straight-to-the-point as Heather Baron-Gracie. Take When Did I Lose It All?, from Pale Waves’ debut album My Mind Makes Noises: the vocalist doesn’t mince words when addressing her lover, buttering them up with sweet words before sharply crooning, “I want to marry you but not now.”

With their open-chest songwriting and retro proclivities, the English synth-pop group make songs for a throwback teen comedy that doesn’t exist. Then there’s closer Karl (I Wonder What It’s Like To Die), where Baron-Gracie recalls losing a sibling with stark detail and unswerving honesty.

There’s something jarring yet admirable about how straight-up her approach is.

Unfortunately, the acoustic plucks of Karl aside, Pale Waves wrap the singer’s words in shabby electronic orchestration that’s sugary to the point of turning acidic and the occasional echoing guitar line that recalls Coldplay at their most trite.

With grating instrumentation and melodies that struggle to stick, the album’s 14 tracks are a desperate slog – the last thing good pop music should be.