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Waves - 'Take It Or Leave It' EP Release


1. Play It Faster

2. Try

3. I’d Rather You Stand Outside

4. Generic Pop Punk Song

5. Not The Same

6. Blinded

Waves arrive on the scene from Texas with a highly enjoyable EP that crosses several genres. I had a set of musical expectations heading into this based on the band members, but this eclipsed what I had in mind. Waves have decided they do not want to adhere by the rules so the combination of Country, Alternative Metal, and a dash of some Rock have given them their own identity. With the average age of the band being 16 years-old, this is even more impressive.

Ironically, it is the first song that leaves me a little flat, especially compared to the other five songs. ‘Play It Faster’ starts with some catchy riffs, but the vocals by Elysha LeMaster just don’t work nearly as well here for me as they do on the rest of the album. The song provides an up tempo start, and I am wondering if it works better in the live setting. The lead guitar work by Peyton Glasco is excellent. Things start shining on ‘Try’ where LeMaster provides an awesome vocal with a song that reminds me of early 90’s Sass Jordan. The hook here is golden with Luke Wilson (bass) and Willy Canada (drums) providing an excellent rhythm section. Glasco provides some more great lead guitar with Dierks Canada supplying exceptional rhythm guitar.

Things slow down for ‘I’d Rather You Stand Outside’ which reminds me of a slow red dirt song from here in Texas. LeMaster kills it again here as D. Canada and Glasco squeeze out every note on the guitars with a burning intensity. AJ Vallejo provides an excellent production job, especially with these six songs being done over the course of just two days. ‘Generic Pop Punk Song’ clearly falls in the Pop Punk genre but is not generic. W. Canada gets the spotlight at the start, and the song motors along nicely. The breakdown in the song is what lifts it up for me. This one rises above ‘Play It Faster’ for me but would fall in the bottom half of the EP.

‘Not the Same’ currently stands as my favorite on the album with LeMaster delivering a killer vocal here. This is some classic sounding Rock 'n Roll laced with soulful vocals from someone who is only just beginning to develop her voice. If you are a fan of Lynne Jackaman’s old band Saint Jude, I suggest you start here. Closing out this opening EP is ‘Blinded.’ The gentle opening guitar gives way to a swirling hypnotic rhythm that serves the perfect foundation for LeMaster who showcases some darker vocals. It provides a great close that leaves me wanting to hit repeat.

I mentioned the young age of the band members at the beginning, but I didn’t mention that two of the band members are the sons of red dirt legend Cody Canada. I am not sure if it is a blessing or a curse for the band. I am sure it opens some doors but also leaves some saying ‘your dad does it better.’ For me, Waves is its own thing, and I love the way the band is exploring genres to create a sound that belongs to them. My recommendation is to join Waves now and watch them grow in the years to come. This EP is not perfect, but it is excellent and will bring a lot of listening pleasure. I look forward to catching them live as well.

Review - Gerald Stansbury


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