Pale Waves have left fans starving for more of their strangely charming melancholic pop since their debut album hit the shelves almost three years ago. It was always going to be tough to follow up on such a statement album but, thankfully, ‘Who Am I?’ does not disappoint.
Straight off the mark, sexually-charged and hyper-feminine album opener ‘Change’ serves up the delicious second course that Pale Waves fans have been so eagerly awaiting. It’s insatiably catchy, sure, but what really stands out is, as ever, how bold and unapologetic this band can be. They smash the preconceived notions of femininity by first highlighting it before proceeding to almost shrug their shoulders and say: so what? It’s just glorious to see and hear.
Pale Waves have made it clear, however, that this latest release would be about so much more than that, and they’re right. ‘Who Am I?’ touches on mental health in ‘She’s My Religion’, gender equality in ‘You Don’t Own Me’, and even hints at a good, old-fashioned love song with ‘Easy’. This album is more varied than its predecessor, showing a wealth of growth for this band in a relatively short space of time.
Before the album wraps up, special mention absolutely must go to ‘Tomorrow’. It’s a track that one suspects might get overlooked but, truly, this is the hidden gem of ‘Who Am I?’. It’s the perfect Pale Waves number, with honest, relatable lyrics, an ear worm of a chorus, and an infectiously fun energy reminiscent of teen pop-rock artists like Hoku and Avril Lavigne that would melt even the iciest of hearts. If you’re going to put ‘Who Am I?’ on for a spin, don’t skip over ‘Tomorrow’.
It’s a thin tightrope for a band to walk between delivering the goods that fans will be expecting and exploring something different to what they’ve done before. Pale Waves have somehow managed to stay on balance and make it to the end of the rope with ease on ‘Who Am I?’.