Boston rockers Wave Break are aptly named, given the metaphorical theme of overcoming adversity – also known as a ‘wave break’ – dominates their lyrics.
The quartet, founded by lead vocalist Kelly Barber last year, fuse elements of post-hardcore with pop rock and emo rock alongside lyrics that focus on standing up to societal and social barriers – honing a sound that they describe to us ‘fierce, unapologetic and honest.’
As Kelly explains: “In most cases, it’s aggressive, upbeat and raw. The lyrics are complex and usually revolve around some kind of metaphor, so you’d need to use your imagination to really understand some of these lyrics. On this record (debut EP Armory), we kept effects to a minimum so that we could easily reproduce the songs live. In the future, we might start experimenting more with different sounds and figure out a way to bring them to our live show.”
The band released their debut EP Armory last month, which gives us an intriguing insight across the Wave Break influence spectrum.
It kicks off in nice pop-punky fashion with opening track Plaster City, which is all about standing up for yourself against people who try to tear you down. A stabby guitar intro drops into Kelly’s engaging vocals over low guitars: “Welcome to the state of superficiality, Where you’re never gonna get it out again, It’s only five more miles to Plaster City, And there’s no dead end.” The palm-muted guitars gradually increase intensity towards a big singalong chorus. A little guitar solo over driving drums, flowing into a vocal-led bridge then dropping into one last chorus epitomises the catchy, hugely enjoyable feeling of the opening track. Check it out in the video below:
Deadlock opens up with a cool little guitar riff that continues over big driving drums then Kelly’s vocals dive in over the top. A fun pre-chorus of palm-muted guitars gives way to a really catchy chorus follows with big singalong vocals over a funky little guitar lick.
Next, If You Were Awake is a real cracker of a track. Floaty guitars begin, then dive down into palm-muted guitars under even more engaging vocals that you can’t help but sing along with “Do you remember last month when you said you were gone, Making us wonder where the hell you’d gone, Do you, Do you remember, You used to be around but not anymore, And you don’t even see how many threads you’ve torn, Do you, Do you see them.” The guitars pick up a level, then drop into a chorus of dreamy vocals “Open your eyes, You’ve been swallowed while you’re sleeping, I tried so hard to get you to see you were dreaming, Wake up in time let’s not play game let’s be serious, I tried so hard, If you were awake you would be here” over driving chords and drums. It’s delicious and beautiful yet rocky and ridiculously catchy at the same time.
More anthemic goodness comes our way in Friction, opening up with palm-muted guitars and a light cymbal under a meandering guitar lick. Laid-back vocals come in and it gradually increases in pace and intensity towards a big singalong chorus.
The pace picks up a notch on Flight Syndrome, which opens up with a dirty little guitar riff under edgy vocals that soon burst into more singalong vocals over driving drums. The dirty riff kicks back in through an angsty second verse that dives into building vocals “Did I catch you off your guard, Did I threaten your ego, Don’t count on me to pull you out of the ash” that culminate in a big cry of “When you’re so good damn broke.”
The EP closes with Circles, which kicks off with a cool little guitar solo that drops into a punky opening verse that ends on the fun line “This place is dead but I know it’s in my head, I’m moving out and doing what is not allowed.” A lively verse follows led by Kelly’s catchy vocals and ends on a burst of punky guitar chords. It’s a fun track to bring a hugely enjoyable debut record to an appropriate ending.
On the EP, Kelly tells us: “We spent a lot of time working on it and are very proud of it. People can expect it to be raw but upbeat; honest but catchy.
“We write mainly about real-world experiences or thoughts that we’ve had. This EP thematically revolves around overcoming social or societal barriers, and also your own demons. Most songs are about disputes with people or doubts that we’ve had about ourselves. We want people to feel like they can accomplish anything when they hear us, and like they can power through difficult times – that’s what the EP is about.”
There’s plenty more to come from Wave Break too. They’ve just finished up a run of shows around the east coast of the US and are now looking to finish writing their next record, with a new single potentially out before the end of the year.