Album Review: Pale Waves – Who Am I?

Pale Waves have been making waves (pardon the pun) of late, with their second album, Who Am I?, which was released on February 12th 2021. We were very excited to hear the new album considering all the fanfare around the band at the moment, and found ourselves very pleased by what we heard. Find out what we thought of the album below!

By Jane Howkins

The second album release is often a difficult one for bands, so there was always going to be a slight concern about Who Am I?, but we’re pleased to say that those concerns are largely unfounded. Pale Waves have had a bit of a tough time of it recently (as well as the pandemic, they’ve also had internal conflicts and an almost fatal bus crash), so it’s all the more amazing that this release has turned out so well.

The songwriting is on point as usual, but we found ourselves particularly impressed with the topics on display – vocalist Heather Baron-Gracie has opened up more about her sexuality recently, and you can really feel the sense of liberation and exploration within her lyrics. It makes for a really interesting listen, and it’s fantastic to hear a musician singing about non heterosexual relationships – there’s also the hope that music like this may encourage others to feel more confident and come out, which is something to be applauded. The songwriting and lyrics sound more mature than Pale Waves’ previous work, and we can’t wait to hear how their music progresses in the future.

Musically, the band combine together elements of pop, rock and indie to make something that manages to be catchy, whilst still having more of an edge to it. It’s poppy, but there’s much more to this than just mainstream chart music. One thing we did notice was that there was something quite reminiscent of the pop music that emerged in the early to mid noughties here, which may seem like a step backwards to some. However, this isn’t a bad thing when the music is this good, and it shows a band trying to do something different to what is happening in the current mainstream scene, which is always a plus in our books!

Overall, Who Am I? is a great sophomore effort for Pale Waves – it may not be for everyone, but we’ll certainly be rotating the album a few more times over the next week or so! Their songwriting skills have matured greatly, and it really is fantastic to hear musicians that aren’t afraid to speak out and talk about the concept of sexuality and gender like this.