It’s hard to believe that ‘Wonderlust’, the debut album from London-via-Sweden four-piece Kid Wave, was recorded in the depths of a dark English winter. A bright, shimmering album right from the get go, Kid Wave proceed to explore the worlds of ‘90s indie rock, shoegaze and dream pop over the course of eleven tracks that are full of youthful yearning and glistening guitar lines. For the most part, they achieve what they set out to do, providing a few welcome surprises in-between.
Kid Wave succeed the most when they go huge on the hooks and choruses.
This is ground that hasn’t just been well trodden, it’s become ancient, and going into ‘Wonderlust’ means trying yet again to turn off any preconceived notions of what a band inspired by “‘90s indie rock” is going to come up with. For the most part, Kid Wave stay true to the genre - there’s the slinky, lulling guitars (‘; the whimsical and lethargic vocals splattered with melancholy - “some say dreaming is waste of time / I can’t get you out of my mind” Lea Emmery croons on stand-out single ‘Honey’, for example - and an overall lo-fi, sun-drenched sheen that of course nods back to the recordings of the day.
Kid Wave succeed the most when they go huge on the hooks and choruses. ‘Gloom’ for example is straight out of the Pavement textbook, but there’s a lush quality to Emmery’s vocal and a scale to the driving melody of it that makes it sound poised for bigger things, and there’s a moment of choral voices that ups the euphoria in a way The Pains of Being Pure at Heart regularly achieve. ‘Sway’, one of the album’s more tender tracks, nails that nostalgic feeling of longing for escape and hammers home the notion that this is a band dreaming of sunshine in even the gloomiest moments. With ‘Wanderlust’, Kid Wave are proposing a summer that lasts all year long, but they’re willing to enjoy a few nights of twilight along the way.