Hello From Waveland
Mt. Fuji / Roam
A surprisingly considered and crafted debut album from this Seattle-based four-piece, full of unassuming and uncompromising pop-rock, earning comparisons to everyone from The Posies to The Replacements. Hello From Waveland sound remarkably confident for such a young outfit, but it=EDs no wonder, really, when considering the modestly inviting songs they offer here.
On “Call To Complain,” they come across like Murmur-era R.E.M., while not merely plagiarizing a sound, instead using it as a starting point to carve out their own musical identities. “Temptation” is clearly influenced by Sugar’s power pop, while “Hourglass” harks back to Uncle Tupelo and the early days of alt-country. The lo-fi impression may be down to production facilities rather than actual intention, but it still suits their casual but powerful folk-based pop, underlining their heritage and debt to the indie rock and Americana of the mid-to-late 1980s.
Omaha-raised Michael Jaworski — vocalist, guitarist and the band’s sole songwriter — sings with an air of profound sincerity, as if every word is intensely personal, yet he somehow succeeds in distancing himself from the stories he tell. The entire band seems to take a playful and relaxed approach to the music, casual and open-ended, rarely repeating single lines or fills where a slight detour is possible. Slight psychedelia-infused country combine with gentle power pop and organic, breathing arrangements to create a truly impressive debut album, and Hello From Waveland is definitely one of the more intriguing folksy pop-rock acts to emerge this year.