Waves by Pray For SoundRelease date: November 8, 2019
Label: A Thousand Arms & Dunk! Records
In a genre where it has become more and more difficult to stand out, small things make a big difference. Pray For Sound have been around since 2011 and are part of the newer generation of American Post Rock bands. They have made themselves known by participating in the Dunk! and Post festivals and they are part of the A Thousand Arms and Dunk! Records families. They found their place by being one of the most straightforward and positive sounding bands.
They have always been on the more upbeat and positive side of the Post Rock world. Guitars and melodies have always been a heavy emphasis for them and, while Dreamer and Everything is Beautiful are great albums (and Waiting Room was a good departure and experiment), I feel Waves has taken Pray For Sound to a whole new level. They did not reinvent the wheel, neither did they drastically change their sound nor come up with the next new thing. They have become more comfortable in their skin and built something that sounds like them and exactly what they wanted to at this time.
‘All The Days’ is a great opener and contains all the necessary ingredients: It’s fast paced, energetic, positive and sounds familiar. We know who we are listening to and we want more. ‘Julia’, ‘Spiral’ and ‘The Mountain’ are more melodic and contemplative tracks and this sets the tone for the rest of the record. Extremely catchy guitar melodies which tell stories, gentle electronics, simple drum beats, positive vibes.
‘Waves’ is the highlight for me. The electronic intro and one of the most beautiful guitar riffs and melodies on the record. So uplifting and happy. So catchy. ‘Wren’ is a piano ambient interlude setting the tone for ‘The Canyon’, a slower paced, peaceful track. ‘Talus’ warms things up for ‘Ezra’ which closes the album as ‘All the Days’ opened it. Bright, inspired and colorful.
Waves was built around the guitars and their melodies while all the other embellishments seem to have been added later. Guitars play a fundamental, if not the most important role and the melodies are stuck in your head for days. Multiple listens allow you to catch other details like basslines, drum fills, electronics, keyboards, etc. Production is squeaky clean and, at 41 minutes, it also doesn’t go on longer than it should. It’s concise and “easy” to listen to.
Pray For Sound albums have always done a very good job in being uplifting and putting a smile on my face. They always seem to find ways to take you back to times in life when things were better and remind us that there is light to balance the darkness.