I’m not sure what happened with rock music of late. Somewhere along the line it seemed to splinter off into any number of over-earnest sub groups, grim faced, scream-grunt metallers taking themselves too seriously, identikit, black-clad indie rockers with complicated hair and designer labels, math-rock aficionados who can’t even see the melody in the rearview mirror anymore. It’s been a long time since a rock band came along which seemed to do anything for me. So thank the gods of music for Outwave.
There seems to be the perfect blend of melody and muscle in their music, power and poignancy, grunt and groove. And that is a good thing. They tick all the right boxes in song crafting and musical prowess, and their songs are easy to get on board with, whether it is the anthemic end of the spectrum such as Song of The Sea or the gentle, brooding minimalism of Leave.
I’m not saying that they seem to channel the 80’s rock heyday in their music, it feels more as if they have gone back to the musical rulebook of that decade, remembered what made it work so well and then used those, seemingly forgotten, secrets to write songs for the modern age. And the results are great. There is plenty of kick-ass, low-slung rock and roll, In The Spotlight being the perfect example, the title track is built on drama and drive, tension and technical playing, Autumn Trees allows them to show a more tender side and The Road That I Will Cross is a slice of straight down the line rock, no nonsense, no prisoners taken, no gimmicks, no tricks.
I didn’t realise that bands were making albums like this again, but I’m glad that Outwave are. And writing this the day after the awful news that master shredder, musical legend and all round nice guy Eddie Van Halen has left us for the great gig in the sky, goes some way to soften the blow. I think he would agree that with bands such as Outwave treading the boards, rock and roll is in safe hands.