Longwave The Strangest Things

[RCA; 2003]

Rating: 2.5/5

Styles: indie rock
Others: Doves, Coldplay, Radiohead, The Walkmen

I can practically hear the U.K. music press collectively soiling themselves over The Strangest Things and their new favorite band Longwave.  The boys have all the prerequisites in line to apply for such rock royalty. Based out of NYC — check. Chums of The Strokes — check. Lots of Chic Retro Hair — check. Release an album influenced by perennial Brit press faves — check. With all their ducks in a row how do they fare you ask? The band comes away with mixed results. 

The Strangest Things kicks off with the drab “Wake Me When it’s Over” that fails to go anywhere very interesting. Current single “Everywhere You Turn” really introduces us to the band and the engaging vocals of Steve Schlitz. His voice evokes familiar warmth that builds expectation with a double verse, but the chorus fails to fully deliver on the anticipation. “Pool Song” bounces along nicely with its jangly guitars but then slips into a paint-by-numbers chorus that simply goes through the motions. The feeling that Longwave is going through the motions continues to be a trend throughout the first five tracks. 

It’s at this point that reaching for the □ button gets tempting.  But it’s also here where things start to take a turn for the better. “Can’t Feel a Thing” clocks in at just 1:29 but serves as an enjoyable interlude to the back-end of the album. At first listen “The Ghosts Around You” winds itself through some subtle yet unexpected changes that create one of the strongest tracks on The Strangest Things. Repeated spins however take nothing away from the song. “All Sewn Up” may in fact be the strongest track on the album. It has some of the biggest hooks on The Strangest Things with crunchy guitars and a soaring refrain that scoops you up for the ride. It’s these moments that leave a feeling of disappointment when compared to much of the album. The potential can be heard and the band certainly has a nice start to their bio, but Longwave isn’t quite ready for coronation.

1. Wake Me When It's Over
2. Everywhere You Turn
3. Pool Song
4. I Know It's Coming Someday
5. Meet Me at the Bottom
6. Can't feel a Thing
7. Tidal Wave
8. The Ghosts Around You
9. All Sewn Up
10. Exit
11. Strangest Things
12. Day Sleeper