Believe it or not, it's already August. Aside from signaling the impending end of the summer season, this fact means that some people out there are probably getting a little tired of catchy, summery pop music--the kind that gets played on road trips and makes you feel like you're at the beach. If you're not one of these people, Make Wave is the band for you.
On their new debut album Yeah, So, the Massachusetts collective has crafted a very fine guitar pop record, with flecks of surf rock guitar, 60s pop hooks, and a garage edge. On tracks like the earworm opener "Love Song," harmonizing multi-tracked guitar leads support the low-key, reverb-laden vocals while drums rumble beneath. The majority of the record is reminiscent of New Jersey's Real Estate, but with a cleaner, more upbeat sound. Although the band certainly has musical chops and a cohesive style, they play it off by showing that they don't take themselves too seriously. Lyrics about the beach, parties, and having fun are supported by self-aware song titles such as "Dune What I Want" and "My First Shark Attack."
There's just a hint of self-deprecation and immediacy, too. "Passed out yet again / I'll regret us as friends", the band members shout towards the end of "Love Song", before repeating the catchy opening verse. On "Keep Your Tips Up", the normally lazy-sounding pop sound that the band employs is transformed into something practically urgent, as the band shouts the chorus "Let's enjoy tonight, I know I will."
These sudden, occasional changes in mood and tone separate Make Wave from their beach pop peers. While their overall formula may be rooted in surf pop, many of Yeah, So's more emotive segments are clearly derived from punk music. This makes sense, given that the band includes members of Chalk Talk, an indie emo revival band with an affinity for loud, shout-along choruses.
That said, this record is a lot more palatable than anything that Chalk Talk has produced. Perhaps most impressively, it actually captures the mood of a good summer party, rather than just serving as the soundtrack for one. Yeah, So makes me feel like summer is going to last forever, whether that's a good thing or not. Stream the album at Make Wave's bandcamp page, and buy it for 5 dollars.