Waiting a Lifetime

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It took a long time for Splashh to make their second album, three years filled with false starts and changes of direction, but the end result sounds like the perfect follow-up to their promising debut, Comfort. All the energy and guitar overload from that album is present on Waiting a Lifetime, only with the addition of tighter songs, a more interesting batch of arrangements, and enough hooks to last a lifetime. Kicking off with the raging rocker "Rings," which features some very grungy guitars, the album hits hard and fast before dialing down a bit for some songs that show off the quartet's skill at making melancholy indie rock. "See Through" is an aching last-dance-at-the-prom kind of thing; "Gentle April" is an atmospheric ballad with a huge chorus; "Comeback" has the exact right balance of restraint and guitar mutilation. This brace of songs has depth that the first album rarely reached, and the addition of Jaie Gonzalez's keyboards to the mix is welcome and sometimes surprising. The synths that pepper the album are one of the only vestiges of Splashh's drastic post-debut swerve that saw them delving into electronics. The squelchy techno-driven "Look Down to Turn Away" gives an interesting clue into what it might have sounded like if they had stuck with that sound. It was probably a good idea for them to go back to dream pop, since they do it so well. Songs like "Closer" and the title track have the kind of gauzy energy that the best dream poppers of the '90s had when firing on all cylinders; the calmer tracks have an autumnal sadness and richness; and vocalist Toto Vivian proves to be just as adept at crooning through ballads as he does casually wandering through the faster ones. Waiting a Lifetime is the end result of a lot of hard work, experimentation, and craft, yet it still sounds alive and full of emotion. Not every band ends up with something so positive and fulfilling after such a difficult process. Luckily for fans of well-played and thought-out indie rock, they stuck to it and saw it through to its satisfying conclusion.

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