Another Wave is Coming
Park the Van Records
Another Wave Is Coming, the debut LP from songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emily Edrosa, is a jangly, sardonic organism with the power to envelop you. On the cover Edrosa sports a white tshirt and a smirk reminiscent of a Marlon Brando glam shot from the 1950s. The image has the same cool confrontational “what are you gonna do about it” attitude I’ve always associated with Patti Smith’s Horses. Originally from New Zealand, Edrosa moved to Los Angeles in 2016. The album tackles the strange and lonely aspects of moving across the globe, as well as songs about heartbreak, existential freakouts, and the people who may or may not be friends.
The stirring gay anguish opener, “She Agreed,” builds off simple finger-picking to a tonally-rich wave of guitar. It’s a really compelling portrayal of what it was like feeling like a teen out of sorts, the allusion to the speaker reading SCUM Manifesto gave me a good chuckle. The guitar tone of the next few songs may be twinkly or garage rock-inspired, and the drums have a definite pep. Juxtaposed with the tongue-in-cheek lyrics Edrosa delivers (like “They’ve got plans for things that I don’t understand/ / I’ve got plans, I plan to pace around the room” on the song “NCEA”), this builds an undeniable excitement. The bass-driven, compressed “When Our Brains Betray Us” carries the best qualities of an Elvis Costello classic into 2020.
The album is undeniably queer without explaining itself, which is refreshing. There’s no “coming out” moment (there’s something to be said for the title here), no “and guess what? The crush was a GIRL.” Instead we get a funny, somewhat ambivalent song called “Lesbian Pope” with the timely and relatable line “At the opening of our desires,/ population control still in the back of my mind” while the music sounds like floor boards from space being lifted over a guitar.
At once uncanny and catchy, Another Wave Is Coming Out is tight-packed with musical chops across genres and builds a universe of immense ambivalence and realism. It’s bright and refreshing, and definitely a great listen for a moody walk around the neighborhood.