It’s midday on a January Monday and Heather Baron-Gracie is 25 minutes late to her Zoom meeting with DIY. We don’t complain, and for good reason - she’ll later admit herself that she’s “like a little lion cub that will rip someone’s face off” if you catch her in a bad mood. “I was having trouble with my eyebrow,” she offers on this occasion. “It was getting frustrating, I was throwing a bit of a tantrum.”
It’s a vague indication of what Pale Waves might have become since the release of their Top 10 album ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ nearly two years ago: something like The Heather Show. With that debut record, Pale Waves were Manchester’s premier BFF band; proteges of The 1975 in both sound and tenacity. But like their older brethren, they’ve also demonstrated that transformations are simply a part of growing up. In the case of Pale Waves’ frontwoman, it’s manifested in myriad forms: she’s been notably more outspoken in publicly triumphing her queerness, but she’s equally unapologetic for having seized the reins of her band to drive her own vision forwards.
When Heather decided to decamp to LA to write second record ‘Who Am I?’ without her bandmates, few could be blamed for wondering if some feathers had been left ruffled at basecamp. Such concerns were hardly allayed when the album’s cover art, which finds drummer Ciara Doran, guitarist Hugo Silvani and bassist Charlie Wood blurred into the background, was revealed. They don’t even feature in the music video for anthemic second single ‘She’s My Religion’ - replaced, apparently, by Heather’s girlfriend, Kelsi Luck.
With the general public’s eyebrows firmly raised, Heather and Ciara are here to clear the air. Fortunately, it turns out there’s more to ‘Who Am I?’ than meets the eye.
As featured in the February 2021 issue of DIY, out now.
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