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CD REVIEW

Longwave Develops Indie Streak

‘The Strangest Things’ Sounds Less U2 and More Radiohead

By Chaitra Chandrasekhar

The Strangest Things

Longwave

RCA Records

Longwave, riding the wave of the alternative bands coming out of NYC, brings out their sophomore album, “The Strangest Things.” The U2ish feel of their first release, “Day Sleeper EP,” gives way to a more Brit-pop/indie texture on the lines of Radiohead.

There is the inevitable comparison with The Strokes, fellow New Yorkers. Longwave has the same sense of style (in clothes too) and has toured with them. The various new age influences on this band do surface through the album, but Longwave transcends these stilting references to produce a decent album with some classics in it. Produced by Dave Fridmann (of Flaming Lips fame), this album features soulful melody where the stress is on melody rather than lyrics (“When they’ve got you they’ve got you by the balls,” or “I am everything you wanted, I am everything you need”), although there are some stars in there (“like a dream, you crept into my head”). The band travels the scenery of post-punk and finds its loose bearings on the shifting landscape.

Loud yet flowing, strong but not overpowering, the music is definitely worth more than one listen. The opening track, “Wake me when it’s over,” is brilliant with its lofty refrain and the strong, extended guitar solo opening. Singer/song-writer Steve Schiltz belts out this track in his warm honey voice.

Their first single, “Everywhere You Turn,” with a flavor of U2, is an up-tempo classic. “Pool Song,” although a good song on its own, moves away from the atmospheric nature of the album. You can almost hear Julian Casablanca (of the Strokes) singing this one. The mellow “I know it’s coming someday” follows with a slower yet strong tempo. “Tidal Wave,” “Ghosts Around You,” and “Exit” form a set of three shining fast tracks. This medley is interspersed with the slightly disappointing “All Sewn Up,” which starts getting a little repetitive. The title track reiterates the shoegaze-influenced rock feel of the album. But by the time you reach the song, there’s a slight feeling of overkill and so the last track “Day Sleeper” with its shimmer guitars comes as a refresher.

A mixture of indie and rock set in a frame of pop with their strong influences still showing, this band has made a good start and shows potential. But they need to take it further and hopefully produce more original sounding music. But “The Strangest Things” remains a good listen on those rainy afternoons, sunny days, or late nights when you just need to lightly immerse into an evocative ambiance with undercurrents of gloominess and raw emotion.