July 19, 2024

The Wave Pictures – “Look Inside Your Heart” – another blindingly great album from this trio

MOSHI MOSHI RECORDS      9th November, 2018

Blessed with the gift of god-like genius, it is hard to overstate the importance of this small, cult band. With their lighter than light, yet sometimes deeply profound lyrics, amazingly individually expressive guitar playing, jazz-like intuition and band group-mind, The Wave Pictures are a semi-hidden gem.

My introduction to this band was a mere three albums and two gigs ago but where have they been, why were they hidden from me? Their perfectly-judged Americana of Bamboo Diner in the Rain was succeeded by Brushes with Happiness, earlier this year – an album every bit as great as Neil Young’s Tonight’s The Night. An album I have listened to multiple times in a day, expressing a Zen-like immanence and lightness.

Now we have Look Inside Your Heart, different yet again. My sole complaint is that it isn’t a repeat of the last one. But that’s the way they roll. This is lighter, more fun, more rock and roll. Less David Tattersall solos but the same great Jonny Helm drumming and Franic Rozycki bass. The word pictures still come from sideways but this time are attached to rolling and bopping rhythms and plenty of blues. This band fuse Jonathan Richman with Lou Reed for a product of simplicity and everyday strangeness. The opener has a guitar that chimes like African Jit-Jive before some rolling blues. Recorded live to reel to reel tape, tape burps add a rawness that belies the wonderfulness of lines like “I walked a hundred yards in the rain without a hat for you”.

A chunking blues rocker with old-school call and response prompts some insanely good drumming (House By The Beach). I Came To You Once sounds very personal as Dave channels Jonathan Richman to plain strummed guitar with his heartfelt voice. Bright flourishes of guitar pop up and I long for a big solo but that isn’t what this album is for. There are no long, languid guitar solos and the interplay is less jazzy but it is all in the service of the song. And those songs, aside from the playful juggling of bluesy, rocky genres, draw the universal from observations of everyday life. That’s nowhere more evident than Tell Me That You Weren’t Alone – a zen-like set of pictures of this floating world set afloat on what seems to be improvised vamps.

I’ll leave it to Dave Tattersall to explain the album: ”Look Inside Your Heart is intended as a rallying cry in the war against the machines; while a computer may have beaten world-champion human being Lee Sedol at Go, a machine could never have made music as joyful, spontaneous, happy, poetic, broken and rambunctious as this. Look Inside Your Heart is a bullet in the face of all pop-poseurs and robot wannabes, a die-hard continuation of the vulnerable rebel tradition of rock and roll music, a vibrant work of outsider art and a masterpiece of electric folk.”  I don’t normally quote bands reviewing their own albums but….. he’s right.

Genius. Again.

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