“WAVE CRAZED” by The Wavos
“Wave Crazed”, the debut of New York City-based band The Wavos, opens with “I Will Show You Mine”. (Note how the band doesn’t ask that we “show them ours” first.) The song’s rhythm has the elasticity of a rubber band and the frenetic tempo of an adrenaline-infused heartbeat. It’s infectious and upbeat… and children of the ’80’s will note the influences of that era’s electro-driven pop and punk right away. It’s a flashback to when music sounded good just for the sake of… well, just sounding good, damnit! Retro flavors notwithstanding, the vibe running through “Wave Crazed”– escapism through music– is as timeless as can be. You’ll just want to dance…or at least bounce around on the dance floor. Major Joe Bace (vocals and guitar) has a voice that’s all “the boy your mother warned you about“: hard-edged yet seductive. (Think Joey Ramone meets Adam Ant.) Gordon Smith, who does vocals and synths, has one of the most distinctive voices you’re likely to hear on the indie music scene. For many of the tracks, his vocals sound ethereal and occasionally otherworldly– which match that the no-holes-barred spirit of the music perfectly. When Bace and Smith sing together, it’s quite an impressive effect. Tone Maul (AKA Anthony Maulella), on percussion and e-drums, doesn’t let his energy level down for a single beat. The next track, “About You”, keeps up the frenzied pace of the CD’s opener. In fact, the first three songs of the EP come across as an extended, high-spirited jam session, full of abandon and an affable yet “So what?!” delivery by Bace and Smith. “Tribe Girl” features some exquisite guitar work by Bace alongside some truly awesome (Hey, let’s get with the spirit of the ‘80’s now!) rhythms. For “Aerobic Commuting”, a song inspired by the manic panic that we call life in New York City, Gordon gets all the vocals to himself, and the song allows Smith to show us a more restrained but no less far-reaching delivery. Lyrics like “Buses and trains, only half the story; Feet connects the dots at the pavement, pounding; Nobody said life would be low-impact… Make it to the office, cool down period; Hydrate, recaffeinate; Switch gears now: motion free computing!“ combine with real sounds of the city thrown in, which really add some authenticity. The multi-tasking inhabitants of the urban jungle known as Manhattan can relate. “I Must Be Crazy” sounds like the best song The Ramones never recorded; it’s the twin brother track to 1977‘s “Teenage Lobotomy”. “Normal Girls” features a truly amazing rhythm and some nicely self-indulgent electronic effects.
All three members of The Wavos– Major Joe Bace, Gordon Smith, and Tone Maul– are artists with firm roots in the NYC rock music scene of the 80’s and 90’s. It’s a testament to their combined talents that the spirit of performing live on stage (the symbiotic joy of both the musicians and their audience) comes through very well on “Wave Crazed“. The EP closes with “Keep on Shakin’”, which is what the listener will very likely do long after the last note.