Tuesday, June 10

I Go I Go I Go

Not many bands have had the honour of being mentioned more than once within the fine posts of this fine blog. The Wombats probably lead the list, with Elle S'appelle and Eugene McGuinness up there as well. But there's another band from Liverpool who also deserve such a wonderful accolade...

Radiohead’s cryptic blog posts. The Jack and Meg sibling dogma. Albarn’s fixation with the African kora. Some musical greats just wouldn’t be the same without a little mystery. So when Wave Machines stroll on to each and every show of theirs behind masks adorned with the image of their actual faces, it makes total sense that underneath such obscurity is the kind of sweet psych-pop Wayne Coyne could only desire to conjure up.
“The masks thing was originally a way of hiding our faces,“ admits co-singer/guitarist Tim sat down inside the band’s rehearsal space, otherwise the back of a cozy church on the outskirts of Liverpool’s city centre. “I wanted to feel a bit more secure about singing in front of people as I’d never done it before. We struck on this idea of putting our own faces on the masks, and it had this really strong impact. It’s easier to avoid people’s eyes when there’s a bit of cardboard on your face and not imagine that they’re thinking ‘God, it’s awful’.” But if their very own homemade self-titled EP of last year is anything to go by, drawing out all manners of candy-coated beats and Neil Tennant-esque squeals, ‘awful’ would dare cross one’s mind. ‘Punk Spirit’ in particular lopes like the late Grandaddy waking up from their grave. “There’s a real traditional song writing background to what we do, but we definitely try to flavour it in as interesting a way as possible. There’s real joy in nailing a poppy song that’s got some kind of edge to it,” prides Tim.
As bizarre as it may be, this local church’s grand design suits Wave Machines’ lush, soothing tones perfectly. “The building itself is really inspirational to work in. But I don’t share any of the beliefs of the people that created this space,” tells Tim, before co-singer/keyboardist Carl politely interrupts, “It was a really obvious progression to put our night on here with Mercy (local designers/poets). To put some music on the altar and decorate this space is very exciting. It’s not a normal black rock and roll venue with sticky floor.” The very first of these nights, Wave If You’re Really There, happens on June 7, featuring an array of bands and poets. But whether it be set in the corner of Liverpool’s Tate Gallery, on the carpets of the nation’s rundown gig venues, or even in this very rehearsal space, this lot’s live spectacle is truly like no other. Tim and Carl alter who leads the vocals, backed up by bassist James and drummer Vidar. But is there a main front man? “We are Wave Machines”, declares Carl, “The idea to me is that groups of people say something powerfully together. It’s easier for people to hook on to one person but it’s also interesting for some band members to leave the stage and for others to sing. Therefore we’re able to make a more attractive set for people to watch.”
Shout and Twist was lucky enough to see the band exhibit such a set, which included new single ‘I Go I Go I Go’, a disco-rooted gem that footsteps to the syrupy guitar paths Hot Chip resided in on their first effort. James says, “In recent times we’ve been listening a lot to The Notwist. It’s a perfect blend of indie electronica and pop music. But influences go back to all kinds of things, like Joni Mitchell is a big one for Carl,” who feels, “Once you’ve been absorbing music for seven or eight hours of the day the last thing you wanna do is go and see what someone else is doing.” Despite slight references to past sound spirits, ignorance of the current scenes and trends is obvious in the band’s own noise, simply because they emerge miles above everything else that’s going on.
“If you don’t have any ego then you’re probably not gonna last too long. Though I get very influenced in the short term. I see a band that’s doing something completely different and think ‘Shit, we should be doing that’, and then after a day or two I think ‘No’,” reveals Tim, as Carl jokes, “It’s hell for the other three of us. You wanna see the tattoos I’ve had and then had them off!”
So, unless they transform into yet another ‘progressive’ math-rock posse or something, these will carry on making one timeless tune after the other. In their own way, on their own terms. Wave Machines are Liverpool’s best-kept secret no more.
Punk Spirit
Wave Machines Myspace