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Pale Waves - Who Am I?

Last week Pale Waves released their sophomore album ‘Who Am I?’. I have been a fan of Pale Waves since their ‘All The Things I Never Said’ EP was released and have enjoyed most of their music since then, their debut album ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ being one that I had on repeat a lot. So to say that I have been eagerly anticipating this is accurate.

I wasn’t completely sure what direction the band wanted to head in after the first album as there was talk about going a bit heavier or more to a pop-punk style, but overall I feel like this album is still undeniably a Pale Waves album, just maybe more refined in sound than their debut. It has a repeatable quality to it, being only 33 minutes long and full of songs that are great, none of which don’t belong. I have listened to this album countless times since it’s release, however it doesn’t feel like I have, and I like that about it.

The first single ‘Change’ came out back in November and of all the singles it was the one I played the least, but it has grown on me more with time and with the album. That being said, it’s the only song that had to grow on me, I loved everything else and as soon as ‘She’s My Religion’ was released I was hooked on this album and suddenly got excited for it along with everyone else.

Heather Baron Gracie’s vocals on this album are incredible, and you can tell that she has pushed herself more than on the first album, and it’s really worked. Everything seems more open and urgent and though I love a lot of the first album, I think this is the one that will make sure Pale Waves are here to stay. The guitars are still as bright as they were on the debut, but again they seem more urgent and deliberate here. Maybe less of The 1975 influence here this time, and more of those early 2000’s pop/rock styles, but the album still seems very much like it belongs in 2021, with the lyrics and production bringing it up to date.

There are so many songs on this album that stand out to me, and currently I’m going through a cycle of having a different favourite every day, today’s was ‘Fall To Pieces’, the raging ‘stuck in a rut’ song. I absolutely love the drums on this track too, they stand out but in the best way. I love how euphoric a lot of this album feels to me, the choruses on ‘Fall To Pieces’ and ‘She’s My Religion’ being two examples of that.

‘Wish U Were Here’ is a song that hits me straight in the gut, and ’Tomorrow’ is possibly my favourite song here. I love the urgency of it and how lyrically it tells different stories but they are woven into one, and into describing something we have all felt. Pale Waves give us the encouragement here to keep going and that it’s not all bad all the time. This album really sees Baron Gracie opening up a lot more about herself, her sexuality and the struggles she’s faced in a more head on way than she did on the first album. I feel like this time she’s showing us who she us unashamedly and that really comes through in the lyrics and the passionate way in which she sings.

‘You Don’t Own Me’ is a statement of a song that everyone will be belting out in concerts, eventually, and it sees the band standing up for who they are and the showing type of criticism they have faced in the public eye having a female front-woman and non-binary drummer. This is them hitting back in the best way possible.

The album starts to slow down a bit with ‘I Just Needed You’ and ‘Odd Ones Out’ but in no way does that mean it’s a bad thing, again like I said earlier, there are no songs I dislike on this album and having these more reflective moments are really nice. ‘I Just Needed You’ is really nostalgic to me and I can’t place quite just why yet, it might be the pacing, but either way it’s a song with a really soft chorus that works really well and really shows off the range and control of Baron Gracie’s vocals.

The album closes with the title track ‘Who Am I?’, a ballad that sees Gracie reaching out with uncertainty for the only time on the album and asking that very question. It’s heart wrenching and emotional as you would expect and sees a slightly different perspective to the rest of the album as instead of telling us how she feels, she’s asking us how she should feel and the role is reversed.

I think one of my only complaints about this album is that it’s a bit short, most of the songs are just shy of three minutes and I would have loved more. However with that being said I think having a more concise and coherent album really works.

This is an album that I definitely think you should give a listen, I have been blown away with this release and I can see it being played a lot over the next few months as well. Even if you haven’t heard much of he band or weren’t sure about their previous releases I would still say to give this one a go because I feel it’s more sure in what it wants to be and it’s an album that really works.

Favourite Songs: Change, Fall To Pieces, She’s My Religion, Easy, Wish U Were Here, Tomorrow, You Don’t Own Me, I Just Needed You.

Thank you for reading, until next time…

Listen to Who Am I? on Spotify here.

Follow Pale Waves on Spotify here.

Follow Pale Waves on Instagram here.

All After Midnight links here.

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