Ipswich indie rockers War Waves, our former New Band of the Week, are back with a superb second album All That We Lack.
The album is again testament to War Waves’ ability to write passionate and moving but incredibly engaging music that’s chocked full of superb songwriting.
Possibly my favourite thing about this band is their lyrical brilliance, which is often random and may not necessarily mean anything to the outsider but creates songs that are really fun to sing along to. Opening track Spine offers this in the form of the repeated lyric “I don’t want another spine laying next to mine, I only want your spine laying next to mine,” and there’s much more of the same throughout the album.
The pace is lifted with the excellent second track Jean Season. Bursts of guitar riff open up and remain as the wonderful wordsmithery and engaging vocals of Marc Newby take over. The chorus on this track is awesome, with powerful, singalong vocals, and superb harmonies between the guitars and vocals throughout.
That’s followed by lead single from the album, Horses. It’s another upbeat sounding track (despite a rather sad song topic) that starts off with a delicious guitar riff and driving drums. There’s great guitar licks throughout and it sounds like it could easily have come straight off Idlewild’s American English album. There’s a really cool shift halfway through as the guitars drop out for a small bass interlude, then come back in a little heavier and support Newby’s repeated lyrics:”We like the horses in the nighttime movies, the sense of freedom and their hooves they move me,” followed by a superb outro.
Stickwrist is another great track that’s really growing on me. It eases us in with a repeated guitar riff that continues through the opening verse -which includes the awesome lyric “God I’ve made a bet with all the people that I’ve met and now I’m waiting for them all to die.” There’s a beautiful harmony between Newby’s lyrics and a guest female vocalist throughout the track, supported by a heavy drawn-out bass, fast high-pitched guitar riff and light drums that makes the hairs on my arms stand up. It’s a really superb little track.
The album just continues to deliver great track after great track. With Hands The Size Of Giants is a fast-paced singalong cracker, the pace drops down again with acoustic guitars supporting Newby’s vocals on Bedding and The Black Dog, and we dive back into the heavier stuff with the catchy Don’t Self-Destruct.
An equally catchy track is One, which showcases Newby’s great vocals before diving into an extended guitar solo supported by huge fast-paced drums, before intense penultimate track Our Parade, which opens up with the amazing line “She said I’m not a quick fix or a drunken fuck.” The lyrics are fantastic, over a laboured, drawn-out musical accompaniment.
Final track Let Us All In begins slowly but sees the album out with an almighty bang. It builds up gradually from just Newby and an acoustic guitar accompaniment, to the introduction of a guitar riff which drops out for Newby to repeat “If you’ve got a lot of hate to prove then I’m young enough to find you,” before the song begins to come to life. The album is brought to an end with a superb guitar solo which, again, has more than a little Idlewild about it then revisiting a more energetic rendition of the previously mentioned lyric.
We spoke to lead singer Marc Newby for his take on the new album, and he told us: “The album is more of the same – songs about sex, despair, idiocy, self-destruction and attempts at positivity! But the whole process of this album has been totally different actually. I still wrote all of the songs, but I guess for the first time I was writing with a band in mind, rather than songs which I’d just play on my own.
“We also recorded All That We Lack in a bigger studio (Punch Studios, Ipswich) than before and recorded most of the instrumentation live, which made a big difference as I felt it captured our natural sound more.”
All That We Lack is a brilliantly written, hugely enjoyable record. Every single song adds something, they’re impressively catchy, and it just gets better and better every time you listen to it. I thought War Waves’ debut eponymous album was good, but this just enhances my opinion of this great new band even further.