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Pale Waves - Unwanted (Album Review)

Monday, 15 August 2022 Written by Rebecca Llewellyn

Photo: Pip

Manchester quartet Pale Waves’ third studio album ‘Unwanted’ is, on the surface, fuelled by the emo energy that vocalist Heather Baron-Gracie has become synonymous with. Heavily influenced by Avril Lavigne, The Cranberries and The 1975, the group have a handle on goth-pop theatrics, ‘90s grunge and pop-punk prowess, yet there is a deeper layer here. Beyond mirroring past hits, their emotive journey and connection to their fans is now truly exciting.

Powerhouse single Jealousy has a chant-worthy chorus and blatant pop-punk sound that is impossible to shake off. But ‘Unwanted’ ripples with pivotal songs that amplify Pale Waves’ message even further. You’re So Vain, relishing its cynicism, ignites as a rage-rousing anthem: “Your ignorance makes me wanna vomit. You'll get what you deserve, baby, I promise.”

It exists in stark contrast to the tender emotion of The Hard Way, during which Baron-Gracie pours out feelings of guilt and regret as she struggles with loss: “But lately it's haunting me, I didn't protect you.” 

Radiating the punk spirit that exists at the heart of Pale Waves, ‘Unwanted’ does not sugar coat its lyrics or dim any defiant guitar solos, but there is something moving and beautiful behind the band’s progression to this point in their career. 

Pale Waves have unashamedly shared all aspects of themselves, from their true sound, to their humanity. With almost decade-long friendships forged in their songwriting, their journey to having become a safe haven for LGBTQ fans, while slowly recovering from the trauma of a harrowing near-fatal bus crash in early 2020, is multifaceted and increasingly compelling. ‘Unwanted’ is an album that represents hope and resilience, with a hearty dose of pop-punk for good measure. 

Pale Waves Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed August 17 2022 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Newcastle
Fri November 25 2022 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Sat November 26 2022 - LIVERPOOL O2 Academy Liverpool
Sun November 27 2022 - GLASGOW Barrowland
Mon November 28 2022 - DUNDEE Fat Sams
Wed November 30 2022 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton

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Fri 12 Aug 2022
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Tue 28 Jun 2022
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Thu 09 Jun 2022
Pale Waves Drop New Single Reasons To Live
Tue 10 May 2022
Pale Waves To Support Third Album 'Unwanted' With November UK Tour
 
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