Pale Waves – ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ review

The Manchester band moves from cult concern to the big leagues with an impressive, deft debut

Pale Waves’ debut album packs a whole lotta love. ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ is an album that obsesses over break-ups and make-ups, as well as dizzy affairs and their bitter fallouts – purposefully telling the story from all different angles. It’s the perfect record to summarise the band’s rise from Manchester’s little secret to one of the most adored new bands in the country.

“Their debut album encapsulates everything Pale Waves are: emotional, arresting and endearing”

This escalation is exactly what they’ve been after, mind. They’ve embraced every opportunity that’s been presented to them in the last few years, from signing to cult indie label Dirty Hit (Wolf Alice, Japanese House) – and touring with mentors and label mates The 1975 in arenas with one song out – to a smattering of festival dates over the last summer. Their debut album is no different; its a remarkably tight offering, one that encapsulates everything Pale Waves are: emotional, arresting and endearing.

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Album opener ‘Eighteen’, with its New Order-esque synth line sets the scene (“Standing on the corner kissing each other / Felt like we could finally see in colour”), while ‘Drive’ a paints a picture of self-sabotage on top of a zooming guitar riff (“I drive fast so I can feel something / I ruin my own life just for nothing / I fall in and out of love with everything / I really don’t know what I’m doing”). Debut single ‘There’s A Honey’ receives a shiny new makeover (yet retains its naive charm) and ‘One More Time’ is a positively addictive heartbreaker.

Some of the album’s grittiest and most intoxicating moments occur when the band reflect on love in different ways. ‘Noises’, the album’s stand out moment, is a stark window into lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie’s mind (“I feel like I’m slowly losing myself / I’m afraid that I need help”) but, instead of sounding fatalistic, acts as a message of self-preservation and understanding who you are. The album’s closer, ‘Karl (I Wonder What It’s Like To Die)’, tackles, with deft maturity, the process of grieving a loved one.

Given that it documents a romantic life that’s apparently hurtling out of control, ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ makes for a remarkably trim and measured collection of songs. Both hands are on the wheel, and this album will crank things up a gear for Pale Waves.