Clad in black with dark lipstick, a curly bob of black hair on lead sing Heather Baron-Gracie. Ian Curtis baggy trousers and plain black shirt on guitarist Hugo Silvani, jet black EP and single covers, morose The Cure inspired lyrics about broken hearts; but bright glistening pop. Pale Waves crave to combine the two distinct sides into a glorious cacophony; sweet as the joining of chocolate with milk, and on moments like set opener “Television Romance” it works magnificently, a pop-rock song that deals economically with its lyrics to deliver that sweet sweet sugar rush of romantic teen angst.
Baron-Gracie also moves with the energetic charisma of a young star, she has these distinctive gothic puppet dance moves down pat and has an immediate has chemistry with her audience that carries a lot of value throughout the set. Behind her on the drums, co-founder Ciara Doran is a counterpoint to the shock black goth glamour, her hair lighter and a bit of colour in her outfit, her dark lipstick tying her to the band’s aesthetic. So much thought has gone into this unified aesthetic, to the point that it stretches into their songs.
Sonically they hem closely together; to the point that the guitar riff that drives opener “Television Romance” is almost a carbon copy of the one that leads off “The Tide”. While they are both dreamy jams, there is a sense of repetition that creeps into their 45-minute set, that could work very well to unify a punchy debut album but could have used an extra bit of variety to shake up their live show, not that it seemed to matter to the audience who lapped it all up adoringly.
Some newer album songs showed hints of increasing adventurousness, “Eighteen” featured a disco beat driving it in a danceable direction, with Baron-Gracie hammering a big room guitar solo towards the conclusion. They certainly showed the sold-out room that they have the tools and the skills to play bigger rooms, hopefully, they show the same honest courage the guides their lyrics, to spread out and become that little bit weirder and more adventurous, musically.
The reviewer attended this event on July 11th.