WATERS - Out in the light

by James Bray Rating:6.5 Release Date:2011-09-09

Waters is a solo project stemming from the harmless American indie band, Port O'Brien. Lead singer Van Pierszalowski has escaped whatever form of hiatus his group is languishing in, and has managed to bring out a collection of songs by himself. On this record, Pierszalowski plays the kind of unabashed, earnest Americana which hasn't really caught on since Dawson's Creek.

However, for all the yielding acoustic songs like 'Mickey Mantle', there's a skuzzy sub-Nirvana, catchy pop song like 'For the One'. The album has a mid-90s feel to it and like many groups of that era, Pierszalowski has become re-enamored with 70s lo-fi rock; you can imagine him writing these songs in his wind-swept garage on the coast of the pacific north-west, surrounded by big Neil Young box-sets. Saying that, his indie pop songs sound like Tom Petty on over-drive, especially the prospective college radio favourite 'Back to You'. With their shouty choruses, the songs tend to have a quiet/loud dynamic but unfortunately Waters is much more Wheatus than Pixies.

What Pierszalowski has succeeded in creating is a sea-faring, windblown, sentimental rock album. Behind the distorted guitars is a kind of wooly Americana which is perfectly pleasant but can also be dull and insipid. There are plenty of radio-friendly songs here, the album is highly competent but it still has that sinking feeling of mediocrity. Who knows - if this album ties in with the right teen show, or soundtracks the right clothes commercial, it could really take off.

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