Longwave is a band that has been inculcated to Automatic for the People-era R.E.M., as well as most the bands from that era. This is not to say that they are necessarily dated or cliché, but to the contrary they start off “There’s A Fire” with a hard-hitting earworm of a track, replete with hard-hitting drums and snaky synth lines. The move towards and away from an intense sound during “There’s A Fire’s” second track, “Underworld” shows a band that is mature enough to craft their sound in a way that they wish, instead of how the guitar/bass/drums/etc choose to act during the track. What is impressive is that the band does not let up throughout the course of the disc; Longwave is like someone who is fighting for their life, pulling out any stops to ensure their continued relevance. Tracks like “Tell Me I’m Wrong” stick out on this disc because they are fitting regardless of context; this track could be a hit in the eighties, nineties, or even now! What really makes the track, the extremely emotive and fitting synth line that fights against the vocals for dominance, makes its glorious entrance here.
Longwave puts music onto this disc that simply pops with a brilliance that is not found often in this current batch of popular, self-loathing music. Moving into a punk-influenced sound during “We’re Not Gonna Crack”, Longwave shows their audience that they are both malleable and able to put their strongest foot forward even at the latest part of the disc. “Fall On Every Whim” is an example of this late-disc success; coming back in a strong way with their drums, Longwave’s distinct vocals are able to create a full song even as the guitars jangle on. “Next Plateau” looks back even farther than the rest of the fare on the disc, taking definite cues from both Randy Newman and David Bowie during the tracks short (three minute) runtime.
Longwave has really revitalized this brand of indie-rock by infusing it with new-millennium sensibilities and mature arrangements. Nothing on “There’s A Fire” belies the band’s strong facade, rather tracks like “Underneath You Know The Name” bolster it and ensure that Longwave will be popular for a long period. To be such a solid act at this juncture, equally sharing all duties on “There’s A Fire” is to be an oddity; hopefully Longwave will provide a precedent for more bands to follow.
Top Tracks: Fall On Every Whim, We’re Not Gonna Crack
Longwave – There’s A Fire / 2005 RCA / 12 Tracks / http://www.longwavetheband.com / http://www.rca.com / Reviewed 08 April 2005