The Wave Pictures
Thursday 21 March 2019, 7:30pm - 11pm
The Waterfront Studio
The Wave Pictures: Brushes with Happiness review – dreamlike, bluesy and unique:
This cult Leicestershire-formed trio don’t make things easy for themselves. Having previously recorded on vintage analogue equipment or with one microphone and no mixing, this time they went into the studio with no music, only frontman David Tattersall’s lyrics. Everything was improvised and put down in one take. In a comical tour de force, the band recorded while drunk, believing that this would make them more “relaxed”.
If this kind of behaviour has echoes of Mark E Smith’s or Captain Beefheart’s, they’ve pulled it off, presumably by being competent musicians who display the intuitive playing of a jazz band. Brushes stroke, snares fizz and toms rumble, the violin is used sparingly but perfectly and songwriting evolves organically. Tattersall’s supremely pensive guitar playing is the glue that holds it all together, making for dreamlike music. A fan of Jonathan Richman and Lou Reed, he takes a literary approach to songs that unfold from simple scenes – an abandoned suitcase, or a baby’s shoe left on a sandy beach – with vivid turns of phrase (“waving to the waving sunflowers”). The harmonica-blasting single, tells of a cursed man who is worth visiting “just to sit and listen” and is the closest they get to straightforward blues.
Elsewhere, Tattersall’s phrasing has something of Patti Smith and his occasional animalistic cries echo Iggy Pop’s in Gimme Danger. The hazy, literary reverie can start to sound samey, but the Waves are certainly ploughing a unique furrow." - The Guardian