LIVE REVIEW: Pale Waves usher in a new wave of pop and 80s goth

Pale Waves and Inheaven
Lincoln Hall // Chicago, IL // April 7, 2018

Female fronted goth pop is not only welcome, it’s necessary.

On an unusually cold April evening, hundreds of teens and 20somethings flooded into Lincoln Hall wearing black lipstick and Doc Marten boots: your classic goth kids. The band’s founding members, vocalist Heather Baron-Gracie and drummer Ciara Doran, don an aesthetic that resembles a cross between Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Cramps. Don’t let Pale Waves‘ look fool you though: their music is more pop than industrial and more upbeat than somber. The band’s sound is reminiscent of early 90s Robert Smith and Morrissey, giving a multidimensional feel to an otherwise simple pop ballad. Pale Waves have only been making music for a few years, but they’ve blown up since touring with British darlings The 1975 and releasing their first EP, All The Things I Never Said, in February.


Pale Waves

Fellow British indie rockers Inheaven opened for Pale Waves in Chicago, and their sound is more alternative and hard rock than the headliners. The four-piece band released their first single on Julian Casablanca’s label Cult Records, and have garnered a lot of attention in the U.K. Their set started off the night on the right note, playing singles from their self-titled album, released only seven months ago. The album has been praised by NME and other publications as an incredibly strong debut record; it’s no wonder they’ve toured with such acts as Jamie T and Pale Waves. The band will no doubt be headlining their own tour soon enough, and hopefully, that will include some stops in the U.S.


Inheaven

While Pale Waves have a sound of their own, it’s very clear that they’re heavily influenced by The 1975, and part of that could certainly be due to the two bands sharing a label (Dirty Hit Records). Their 80s-style melodies and modern lyrics are almost too similar to The 1975 at times, but fans of both bands know that know they compliment each other rather than copy each other’s vibes. What makes Pale Waves stand on their own, aside from their goth aesthetic, is the powerful vocals of Baron-Gracie and her onstage chemistry with Doran. Pop music can fall start to feel superficial when fronted by female musicians (almost entirely due to the marketing of the artist), and the women of Pale Waves are not only pushing against that stereotype, they’re kicking it off the stage with their combat boots. With dreamy songs like “Heavenly” and pseudo-romantic ballads like “My Obsession,” Pale Waves are set to become huge in the States. Hopefully they can continue to create their own sound and step out of the shadow of their male mentors.

Pale Waves are headed back to the U.K. and will be touring throughout the summer. For more information and tickets, click HERE.

 

Inheaven

Pale Waves