Friday, 20 June 2008

Not Drowning - the Wave Pictures

Published in March in the Stool Pigeon

“It’s hard to imagine a world where Tom Waits is a superstar,” sighs the Wave Pictures’ Dave Tattersall, “It’s a nice world, and I don’t know where it went.”

It’s early January, and the Wave Pictures are talking Golden Ages. Holed up in an studio beneath East London’s Duke of Uke, the band are laying down tracks for their new album, three months before the next is due for release. Apparently this is how it used to be done, and how it should be done. “Neil Young used to make two albums a year,” says Dave, “He’d write a song every two weeks then record the last ten, and it would be awesome.”

You get the feeling that Dave and his bandmates would rather live in simpler times. Moving to London over a year ago, they still carry themselves with the wide-eyed wonderment of three boys from the country, and most of the trappings of Myspace-era indie are completely alien to them. Dave listens mainly to vinyl that pre-dates the eighties and the other two wander around like a pair of 1950’s shopkeepers on loan from Brighton Beach. Don’t take them for naive though – the band have a stronger sense of identity than any band you’ve met, borne out of the isolation of their rural upbringing. “You develop a stronger sense of who you are when you don’t know anybody else,” says Dave, who started playing with bassist Franic six years ago, “For better or for worse we are a band who were completely unfamous for six years.” He adds, “that’s why we’re here recording when nobody asked us to, because it’s what we’ve always done.”

Things have changed recently for the Wave Pictures, the communal move to London made it easier to play shows, and a deal with independent label Moshi Moshi has them tipped for big things in 2008. This concept of course, means nothing to them, which is part of their appeal. Word is spreading about the group of boys so far from image-led, branded indie superstars, and their live shows are starting to attract not so much a fanbase but a community. “I guess this could be a year of life-changing success for us,” hypothesizes drummer Johnny, “but either way we’ll still be making music.”

That music, by the way, is 60's influenced surf pop with lyrical candor the Magnetic Fields couldn't touch. It's partly shocking, partly charming and it’s also fucking great. The golden age is back, riding in the wake of the Wave Pictures.

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