If art is a manifestation of the human spirit and the human heart, then I wouldn’t have liked to have gone through the emotional pain and heartache that War Waves lead singer and chief protagonist Marc Newby has been through. His latest artistic endeavour, following on from his previous outfit, Collisions, has been conceived as an attempt to win back the love of his life.
Working with Steve Mann at Backwater Records, a man who has been a longtime champion and supporter of bands from the Ipswich area, War Waves passionate and heartfelt approach to songwriting will appeal to the ears of listeners already won over by the likes of The Gaslight Anthem or Idlewild; listeners of a certain vintage will doubtless be able to wax lyrical over the more than occasional nod to Mr. Stephen Patrick Morrissey.
These are no bad things of course. There is a rawness and emotional heft to the songs that often startle as much as they reassure. Whether down to the colourful language in the lyrics- the dropping of the c-bomb once or twice raises the eyebrow- or the matter of fact candour, the net effect is immediate and dynamic. The production retains that sense of this record being recorded as live and that lack of tinkering adds to the sense of a man on a zealous, emotional mission.
The ordinariness of the songs settings – ‘My Friends Wedding’ and ‘Hockey Stick’ are good examples of this – and the universal messages within them remind one, thematically at least, of the kitchen sink dramas beloved of The Streets or Plan B or, even Jarvis Cocker at his most suburban. Newby’s drama is highly personal but his honesty and lack of self-serving sanctimony means you are drawn to his tale. The fact that he has a way with a tune doesn’t hurt either.
Newby pulls no punches and grants no quarter; fortunately there’s an absence of hubris as well which is all the more appealing given the self-satisfaction that often accompanies records that are about the state of a heart. War Waves have conjured a decent début album with plenty of ideas and flourishes that you will doubtless be filing very readily under: ones to watch.