London's Kid Wave, a multinational indie rock quartet fronted by Swedish singer/songwriter Lea Emmery, first turned heads in 2014 with their blissed-out debut EP, Gloom. They proved to be a strong fit for British indie Heavenly Records, which released Kid Wave's debut LP, Wonderlust, produced by Dan Austin (Doves, Cherry Ghost). While Kid Wave's earliest output in 2013 was largely the product of a recently transplanted Emmery, they quickly grew into a tight and focused unit with the addition of guitarist Mattias Bhatt (a fellow Swede from Emmery's hometown of Norrköping), Australian drummer Serra Petale, and British bassist Harry Deacon. Heavy on dreamy textures and fuzzy guitars, Kid Wave mine many of the same early-'90s alt-rock record bins as scads of other trendy young bands, recalling everyone from the Stone Roses to Lush and the Breeders. Fortunately, the dream pop, shoegaze, and grunge touchpoints of this 2015 album feel more like a jumping-off place for Emmery's first-rate songwriting, which is more reminiscent than throwback. More than anything, Kid Wave have classic pop sensibilities at their core, with big, easy melodies and fat guitar riffs, like on the excellent title track or the languidly sunny epic "All I Want." Emmery's hushed drawl has a cool, slacker appeal that deceptively draws attention away from what are actually very well-crafted songs in the guise of something more laid-back and spontaneous. A poetic, slow-burning romance imbues tracks like the breezy, swinging "Sway" and "Honey," a lush, effortless rocker that unrolls like a bouquet of eternal summers. Kid Wave may bear their fair share of '90s mystique, but they prove that quality always wins out and these sturdy songs are built to last.
(Digital Download - PIAS #PIASDIGITAL475)
Review by Timothy Monger