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The Mary Onettes: Hit the Waves

The Mary Onettes, The Mary Onettes review, The Mary Onettes album review, Hit the Waves, Hit the Waves reviewThe Mary Onettes — Hit the Waves

Released: March 12
Our Rating: 2.5/5
Spec Recs: “Black Sunset,” “Blues”
In One Word: Melancholic

Hit the Waves is the third album from the Swedish dream-pop band The Mary Onettes led by singer Philip Ekström. The release comes years after its second full-length Islands, released in November 2009, and marks the first time the band has worked with an outside producer. Although the process did not come without conflicts and differences in artistic vision, the quality of the finished product is as lush as one would expect from experienced artists.

The album begins with “Intro,” a short track that does its part in seducing the listener with its lucid and fluid sounds. The otherworldly ambience feels like the title reads — hitting waves. But the nine tracks that follow the opener are more lethargic and reminiscent than up-tempo and modern.

The album is cohesive in its theme, all of the song titles and lyrics hinting at an irrevocable sadness. Tracks “Black Sunset” and “Blues” are standouts because of their pop lean. “Black Sunset” offers a refreshingly different backing beat, which is still reminiscent of the ’80s and ’90s, but more pop-driven. At this point in the heavy album, the juxtaposition of an upbeat instrumental and melancholy lyrics is welcomed. The first 15 seconds of “Blues” sound like the intro to an old TV show or commercial, but the track swells into something exciting thanks to its dance-inducing beat and euphonic vocals.

This release, while thoughtful and well-crafted, feels dated. Fans of ’80’s new wave, and the bands that rehash it, will appreciate Hit the Waves more than others. The Onettes created the album with the intent to do something different than past releases. It drew inspiration from anything and everything, including Whitney Houston and Vangelis. However, different does not always mean progressive. I fear that Hit the Waves‘ strong points will be lost or forgotten in the modern soundscape.

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