Great Waves
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Great Waves

Band Rock Folk

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"Album Review: Great Waves - Blue Blood EP"

There's a point early on in a band's life where their music is pretty hard to figure.

Great Waves is a young band with young musicians out of the state of Washington, making some superb music on their bluegrass-y debut EP Blue Blood. In five songs, Great Waves entertain, enchant, and exalt- yet, for some reason, at the end of it you're not quite sure what you just heard.

The songs divide roughly into two categories: the gleeful and the melancholy. "The Moon and the Gutter" and "Untitled" fit into the former, "Sea Legs" and "Blue Blood" fit into the latter. Both are done well, but one nearly suffers whiplash in the transition between the two.

The melancholy among us will appreciate the colossal, sad yearning of "Sea Legs", which makes good use of the standout vocals of Ashley Bullock that build slowly throughout the entire song before exploding into a howl against a wall of chainsaw guitars. The beautifully understated vocal duet over winsome violin on "Blue Blood" shows that Great Waves has a wealth of terrain yet to explore. At the other end of the spectrum "The Moon and the Gutter" is a joyful romp, a musical hybridization of a pogo stick and a Snickers bar.

It's customary to call the music Great Waves is making alt-country, or alt-Americana. But why bother with the ‘alt’? Listing Grizzly Bear (QRO live review) and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (QRO album review) as influences on your MySpace page isn't enough to pull you into the alternative sphere. What Great Waves has cooked up in Blue Blood is a beautiful homage to bluegrass, country and folk traditions, topped off with bracing vocals. It's a promising start. If Ms. Bullock can steer clear of certain American Idol tendencies, and if the band can carve out more of an identity over and above tradition, Great Waves could be one to watch. - QRO Magazine


Discography

Blue Blood EP (2009)
At The Bottom Of The Well (2010)

Photos

Bio

Great Waves officially began in an old portable converted classroom at Pine Lake Middle School. Paul (bass) told his desk-mate Will (guitar) that he could "play bass and sing real good... Chris Cornell style." Although Paul never quite backed up his claim, the two became friends and over the years played in several bands together. After adding Ashley on lead vocals and later Ryan on drums, they found collaborators that pushed the band to become greater than the sum of its parts. With a little help from friends David Bahr and Elliot Gray and lead by AshleyÕs dreamy vocals, Great Waves plays a unique blend of alternative rock and folk, that has been likened to everything from Allison Krauss to Radiohead.