The Cherry Wave is a Glasgow, Scotland band that steeps itself in dense, fuzzy walls of sound with almost post-punk vocal stylings. Their songs are brisk and soaring, dabbling in nearly anthem-like territory. The band formed in 2012 and consists of Adam (drums), Bobby (bass), Paul (guitar, vocals), and Ryan (guitar). Shimaru is their second full-length with their first being Avalancher on Saint Marie Records. While Avalancher was more glossy, Shimaru displays more of the grit and angst that the punk side of The Cherry Wave has displayed at times. The fuzz is fuzzier, the walls denser, and the beats even more driven.
Shimaru kicks off with “Dream Forever”. The drums instantly burst into the speakers, naked and alone. Then the swirling walls of sound rushes forward, huge and spacey. Paul’s vocals sit deep into the mix but are primal and have a post-punk flavor. There are moments where the guitars turn bright and verge on the edge of melodic but that never lasts long as the energy always takes them over the edge into controlled pandemonium. Bobby’s bass tone also has that edginess to it, with a reverb tinge. “Hitch a Glide” slows the tempo down slightly with distorted guitars pumping in time. High-end guitar riffs slide around in the avalanche of guitar walls. Paul’s vocals sore and the melody has a catchy hook. This is the band at its post-punk best right here.
“Inhale/Exhale” begins with My Bloody Valentine-esque eddying guitars. Adam‘s drums and Bobby‘s bass provide a brilliant counterpoint to the almost off-beat swirls, creating an off-kilter feel. The chorus is explosive with sci-fi sounding guitars and Paul’s almost anthem-like vocals. The guitar hooks don’t get lost in the massive noise walls either. They are catchy and really stick in your mind. The bridge would be chaotic if it weren’t for the percussion holding the band together, like tethering the guitars to the earth so they don’t go off into uncontrollable anarchy. “Crashing” is gritty, crunchy, and pounding. All that noise sits in a wonderfully written pop structure that just has the head bobbing. The Cherry Wave have wonderfully intricate touches in this track, especially in the bridge. The guitars play off one another wonderfully as the lead lends great character to the song as the rhythm guitar keeps hold to what is familiar in it.
“Placid Blue” slows things down beginning with a guitar being picked and Paul talking. This leads to a slow tempo piece with slightly crunchy edges and a melodic punk feel in the chorus. The bridge is dreamy, with fuzzy bass and bright guitars. “Softwater” instantly turns up the speed with racing guitars, feedback loops, and galloping drums and bass. The noise belt in the song envelop the listener and are unrelenting. Paul sings under the weight of the torrent while adding to it at the same time. “Michinoku Overdriver” is another song that feels like a fist-pumping anthem. The drums and bass just drive the track forward and the vocals are soaring and, at times, charismatic. The guitar work here is subtle and not as huge. It has a more rock feel throughout.
“Young Young” has high-hat driven drums and the larger than life guitars return but they are not as amorphous here as they are on other tracks. Rather than play through the drums and bass, they accent them, almost following their lead. The guitars go into hypnotic mode as they swirl in mesmerizing patterns. A quieter section appears in the composition and then the wall of guitars explodes in gritty splendor. “Young Young” transitions into “Get Wide” without a break. It plays off the same feel a bit but has a more melodic-punk feel except with the swelling guitar walls. Again, the hooks are infectious and get the listener returning for another listen. “Pure Burst” is the finale to the disc and is a slow-tempo track with elevated guitars and a return to the almost chaotic wall of sound. Paul provides dreamy vocals beneath the torrent of noise. Slight feedback gives the feeling of disordered potential. “Pure Burst” really takes all the other elements from the album and fuses them into one song: melodic hooks, giant walls of guitar, massive dense fuzz, soaring vocals, and incredibly timed and provocative bass and drums. It’s a brilliant closer to Shimaru.
The Cherry Wave have taken several genre elements, thrown them into a shoegaze blender, and made them their own. Simaru is a beautifully unique album with all the densely-packed simmering fuzz one could ever want. Walls of sound rise and fall while the vocals soar. The Cherry Wave’s sophomore release is a great ride and shouldn’t be missed.
Shimaru will be released on January 23, 2017.