WORDS: Alex Piercy
These days, the current showcase of breakthrough acts tend to lean towards the faster and heavier side of the alternative genre, ensuring they provide the energy and intrusion to snag the attention of as many new fans as possible. Though we all love a sweaty mess, diversity is key to highlight yourself and BETWEEN WAVES’ new EP Paper Chain proves how refreshing it can be to inject a bit of variety into your playlists.
From title track Paper Chain to closer Fathom, there is plenty of dynamic variance on display from the Welsh five piece, with lead singer Helen Page and her haunting Cristina Scabbia-esque vocals immediately pulling the listener under her trance – and once you’re under it’s hard to come out. Paper Chain is an EP that really needs to be listened in its entirety, in one sitting, rather than as a collection as standalone singles. The track order chosen expertly allows the listener to be introduced to the band, progressively building upon the previous track, rather than throwing them into the deep end. Diving head first into their most creative offering Deceiver and its sudden upbeat switch from a fairly constant double bass pedal rhythm, may be more effective and appreciated after the slower and more powerful Place To Fall. By opting out of standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus structures that many other bands seem incapable of unshackling themselves from, there are some truly special moments on this EP, especially in the slow and beautiful breakdowns of Paper Chain, Deceiver and Fathom.
This leads onto the strongest element of the song writing on the Paper Chain EP, the guitars. In both the rhythms and tone produced by Richard and Lee Wood they create a haunting and gorgeous sound that adds to the mesmerizing effect of the vocals, knowing when to lead you into a dream and when to kick the distortion pedal and spiral you back into their nightmares. The guitar tones may not be completely unique, with TOOL and DEFTONES influences being immediately recognisable, but why fix something that isn’t broken, especially as the progressions and melodies easily allows their guitar work to stand apart from their rivals in the scene.
Having only formed in 2013, BETWEEN WAVES are still in the process of creating an identity in the industry, and the fan-base required to break through into the spotlight. It’s hard to be unique in such a currently saturated market and after listening to their Paper Chain EP thoroughly over the past week BETWEEN WAVES attempt to create something truly different and sonically intelligent, rather than being another forgettable mediocre thrash band. It’s a gamble that could’ve easily folded but they succeeded in making this reviewer extremely interested in seeing what they produce, especially as they grow musically and in confidence. Such as MUSE’s Showbiz was dismissed as just another RADIOHEAD imitation, hopefully people won’t make the same mistake thinking Paper Chain is just a LACUNA COIL imitation record. This is an EP worth giving your full attention to, and despite needing a few replays to fully appreciate, will provide you with a fresh new band striving to be something different in an industry obsessed with their clones.