WATERS

Something More!

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Following the trajectory set by 2015's glossy What's Real, WATERS ratchet up their arena rock appeal even higher on Something More!, the L.A. quintet's second release for Vagrant Records. Initially formed in Norway by singer/guitarist Van Pierszalowski, WATERS eventually headed to California, where they made a bid for pop radio ascendancy with hooky alt-rock jams that were deceptively smarter than they let on. With seemingly nowhere to go but bigger and brighter, the band enlisted producer Tim Pagnotta to helm this set of riffy singalongs that pull from a myriad of '80s and '90s rock radio influences, with occasional shades of pop-punk angst. Working in a bittersweet lyrical tone that lives between heartbreak and hope, Pierszalowski manages to pull off some legitimately fist-pumping earworms with rousing tracks like "Hiccups" and "Molly Is a Babe," each an infectious rock anthem designed to be played loudly and often. By the album's second half, however, the songs and overall feel begin to feel a bit too formulaic and manufactured for success. Having proven on past projects that he is capable of more soul, the midtempo synth rockers and bubblegum pop affectations for the most part score below Pierszalowski's abilities.

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