The WAEVE is the brainchild of Graham Coxon and Rose Elinor Dougall, a project born of the immobility lockdown caused; a grey, endless landscape that did little for the pair creatively. But from an encounter at a show when things slowly started retuning to normality, whatever that is, Coxon and Dougall joined forces, not really knowing where it might go. And the end result is this eponymous debut album.
Just as the pair began The WAEVE with no strict goals or guidelines, the record also retains that notion. Free flowing and ever-changing, ‘The WAEVE’ weaves its way through an array of sounds and textures, diving from moodier post-punk moments to dense, cinematic passages. Opener ‘Can I Call You’ is doused in reverb and spacey textures, driven by an almost noir-esque piano motif, Dougall’s angelic vocal ringing out through this auditory smoky haze the pair have designed.
‘Kill Me Again’ features some killer saxophone parts courtesy of Coxon, with the pair taking it in turns vocally. Backed by twinkly synthesisers and airy percussion, Coxon and Dougall tease a constant climax, culminating in a piercing yet harmonious saxophone breakdown. The track is sharp, angular in its timbre but retains the enigmatic and smooth aesthetics that make up the DNA of this record. Though several songs exceed the six-minute mark, everything feels justified and quite simply right. This album was created organically by the pair, so the winding musical passages and soundscapes they have built together creates nothing but a compelling, and at times cinematic, feel.
‘The WAEVE’ is a stellar debut effort by the duo. An amalgamation of influences from eighties prog rock to more modern rock sensibilities, the record boasts a mature coherence and consistency seldom achieved on debut projects. Though the album seems to divebomb into a myriad of sounds and tones, there is an inherent glue that keeps the record together, ‘The WAEVE’ being a unique experience, bathed in a bold richness and brilliantly indulgent productions.
Words: James Mellen