This is it. My most anticipated album of the year. Waterparks’ debut was one of the best I’ve ever heard, with sugary pop-punk hooks complementing some great writing and a mash of influences from a range of genres. The first time I heard it, I thought ‘this is what modern pop-punk should sound like, and it improved with every listen. But obviously all of this is really high praise, it’d take a miracle for the follow-up to be as good, right?
It’s a good thing, then, that Waterparks are a band that specifies in miracles. We’re less than a month into the year, but we’ve already got a contender for album of the year. Here’s why…
The first thing I need to mention is the sheer amount of variety on show. There are songs from bittersweet acoustic ballads (‘Lucky People’), heavy angry punk (‘TANTRUM’), and pop anthems (‘Peach (Lobotomy)’). There’s really something for everyone on here. But occasionally when bands attempt multiple genres in one album, they stretch themselves too thin. You already know that’s not the case on this album. The quality is both consistent and fantastic, from the overall sound, all the way down to the tiniest details in the production.
The writing is pretty great too. Each song tells a little story, mostly love songs in this case, but they aren’t afraid to branch out into other topics, for example the brilliant ‘TANTRUM’ in which singer Awsten Knight takes a shot at anything and everything in the music world. Each song paints a perfect picture of where Knight was, and how he was feeling at that point in his life. The lyrics strike a perfect balance, not being complex enough to sound pretentious, but not being simplistic enough that they don’t get their full message across. And the detail put into them is incredible too, with so many little details that you’ll still be discovering new things after several listens.
And let’s talk about some of these songs. First up we have ‘11:11’, which is a straight-up pop-rock anthem. Next up, ‘Blonde’ takes the album in a heavier direction, without losing the fantastic melodies. And if it’s fantastic melodies you want, look no further than ‘Peach (Lobotomy)’, which is one of the best pop songs of the year so far. There is a double hit of bittersweetness in the middle, when the upbeat ‘Not Warriors’ is followed by the wonderful ‘Lucky People’. And while these are the best songs on the album, it doesn’t exactly go downhill from there, with the incredibly angry ‘TANTRUM’ and closer ‘Sleep Alone’.
So to sum up possibly my longest review ever, you should listen to this album. I don’t care if you like pop or rock, soft or heavy music, this album will be for you. It is by far the best album of the year so far, and I honestly believe that before long, Waterparks will be one of the biggest rock bands on the planet.
Best songs: Blonde, Peach (Lobotomy), Not Warriors, Lucky People, Rare, TANTRUM