LP Review; Waterparks: “Entertainment”

“11:11” starts with a sequential melodic line that glides through various semi-tones to portray a small motive that provides the foundation for the instrumental material for the piece. The vocals enter in soon after in the middle register of the vocalist’s range. This is strong for the band, for the lyrics are gentle, and since they are paired with this vocal timbre, they produce an overly pleasing sound. As the band progresses towards the first run of the chorus, they begin to build up their instrumentation before providing a grand pause right before they slam into their catchy chorus. As the band returns to the vibe of the verses, the band falls back into the groove that was set at the beginning with slight embellishments to help keep the track leaning forward. The instrumental material utilized throughout the selection puts emphasis on the weaker beats of the phrase, which provides an off-kilter groove; thus, through this tactic the band is providing a newer strategy for this type of work, within the music scene. Before the band returns to the chorus to finish the work, the band provides a small rendition of recycled material from the song at a lower dynamic to increase the extreme measure of the last chorus. This was a smart choice for an initial track, for it amplifies the bands characteristic sound, and it is quite memorable; thus, it will stick in the minds of the audience.

“Blonde” starts with vocals from the first downbeat of the work. As the vocals utilize a thinner tone throughout different facets of the vocalist’s range, the instrumental section provides minimal material to establish the pulse of the piece. Once the percussion section enters, the groove for the work is created at a quicker rate, which helps to pull the listener’s attention in as the vocals begin to increase in intensity (the lyrics are thrown in at a rapid fashion). The chorus of the work is just as memorable as the previous track; however, the band adds small nuances to keep their audience entertained and to show their musical variety. Within this selection, the band includes small percussion timbres that are new for the album, which adds dimension and musical variety to the overall work. As the band shifts to the middle of the track, the string section begins to intensify their attacks within an instrumental interlude before the vocals enter in overtop it. However, when the vocals enter in this scenario, the vocalist utilizes an edgier vocal technique, which comes across as if he is stretching his vocals in a yelling fashion. This tactic is something completely different for the band; thus, it will likely catch fans off guard, in a good way. This small, intense section fades effortlessly back to the original chorus of the work, which brings the track to an end. This is a foreseen favorite from the album, for it is overly catchy, and it provides the audience with something completely different from the artist.

 “Peach (Lobotomy)” starts with a relaxed groove from the first downbeat of the work. This is created through a small string motive that provides a systematic pulse that is paired with slight interjections from the percussion section here and there. The vocals enter in soon after the groove is established. When they enter, they provide a simple melodic line, which has phrasal a relationship with the instrumental section, for the instrumental section will mimic the contour of the vocal line almost immediately after the vocal line has been voiced. Throughout the majority of the work, the instrumental material is quite minimal, which works well for this track, for it gives the audience the chance to simply vibe with the faint groove that is utilized throughout the selection. Towards the end of the piece, the band incorporates a small interlude that features the words “let me go down” as the instrumental section elaborates on their faint groove, which provides a new musical idea to the audience. From there the band rides that softer musical idea to the end with the chorus reinstated.

 “We Need to Talk” starts with another relaxed instrumental feature that predominantly focuses on the repetition of electronic semi-tones with the percussion section keeping the pulse of the work steady. The vocals entered in after the motivic idea was set. The vocal line remains rather static throughout both the verse and the chorus, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, for this technique melds well with the small groove that the band keeps steady throughout. As the band pushes towards the second run of the chorus, they add in new tone colors to ornament the minimal instrumental and melodic material that has remained solid throughout the piece. Once the band gears up to shift towards the end, they begin to build their material in dynamics to provide some dimension to the work. However, the band falls back to the original make of the selection to ride through the chorus one last time before the track comes to an end.

 “Not Warriors” starts with another melodic idea that is driven by the mixture of electronic semi-tones. In this idea, the semi-tones provide a progression that moves in a circular motion, which pairs well with the minimal percussion motives that lay the foundation for the work. As the vocals enter for the work, it is heard that the vocalist is utilizing more of their vocal range by providing an overly dynamic vocal line. As the band reaches the chorus, the full instrumental ensemble enters to produce a larger than life sound, which then helps to create a bumping groove for the work that pushes throughout the rest of the selection. The second verse mimics the first; however, the instrumental section plays a larger role; thus, the band is able to build off the momentum provided from the chorus to build to the second one as it leads to the larger middle interlude. The middle interlude toys with the original semi-tone motive while giving the audience different vocal types of various phrases found throughout the chorus before slamming into a grand pause. This pause doesn’t last long before the vocalist lands confidently on the first motive of the chorus to reinstate that musical idea. Once the full ensemble joins in, the band runs through the chorus one last time thus concluding the work.

“Lucky People” starts with an instrumental interlude that focuses on the acoustic timbres of the string section paired with gentle hits in the percussion section. The vocals enter soon after the interlude simmers. The vocal line remains static in terms of range; however, this works well for the selection, for the melody is lying directly in the vocalist’s sweet part of his range, which produces an overly pleasing sound. As the band moves from the verses to the chorus and the following runs of the same musical material, it is heard that this track was going to waver on the acoustic realm of melodic material. This is strong for the album, for it gives their audience a break from the higher intensity tracks, and it allows them the opportunity to relax and just listen to the loving words. The instrumental material that is presented throughout the song are the same throughout almost the entire work. This works well for the band, for it allows the audience to focus on the lyrics of the track, which also gives the audience the chance to really connect with the melodic idea for the track instead of being distracted by too much musical information.

“Rare” starts with the faded ending of the previous track. From there, the band introduces a heightened instrumental interlude, which is a nice shift in tempo for the album; thus, making it easier for listeners to stay engaged. The motive that the strings set from the beginning of the track will work as the rhythmic foundation of the work and help to create and drive the forward moving groove of the selection. Once the vocals enter, the full ensemble joins in and provides an energetic with an equally heightened chorus. The vocals of this track seem to follow a natural rise and fall of the vocal line, which makes it easier to follow as the instrumental material continues to grow in intensity. Towards the middle of the work, the band includes a brief instrumental interlude that messes with electronics and rapid moving motives before dropping instantly in instrumentation to allow the vocals to shine in isolation. The band slowly grows in intensity underneath the vocals to evolve into the last run of the chorus, which will be the conclusion of the selection.

 “TANTRUM” starts with an automated message that transitions directly into a rapid rhythmic motive that is driven by the strings as the percussion section establishes the moving pulse for the work. When the vocals enter, they enter in the lower part of the vocalist’s range, which works well as he evolves his intensity and vocal range throughout the first verse. Throughout the work, the band toys with the adding and subtracting of instrumentation to allow the vocals to shine as well as provide textural dimension throughout the track. As the band transitions into the chorus of the work, the ensemble includes clapping that quickly shifts into a half-time feel, which gives the chorus of the work a cool and ornate vibe. As the chorus comes to an end, the band drops out in instrumentation to allow a small automated message to resonate before slamming back into the original content from the first verse. Moving throughout the second verse and the chorus, it is heard that the band works through a similar mold for these two runs, which is strong for the audience since the material is so interesting and innovative to the audience. Near the end of the selection, the band drops in instrumentation as a semi-tone simmers and slowly crescendos as the vocalist intensifies his approach to his singing. This evolution of sound leads to another grand pause that leads to an aggressive-esk breakdown. This portion of the track is unprecedented for the artist and will likely surprise listeners. Taking that plus how innovative the track is makes this a foreseen favorite from the album.

“Crybaby” starts with block chords in a piano-type timbre mixed with the repetition of electronic tones. This motive swells through dynamics until it gradually remains at a constant volume, and the vocals enter. When the vocals enter, it is heard that the vocalist is utilizing softer vocal techniques, for his vocal lines resonate as if they are just gliding overtop the instrumental material. As the band slowly approaches the chorus of the work, the percussion section interjects here and there to provide some rhythmic stability, which gives the audience a faint groove to hold onto. The second verse and second run of the chorus are similar to the previous material; however, they include slight embellishments on the instrumental part, but most of it remains static. Towards the end of the track, the band includes a small interlude that sounds as if they are pulling influence from the pop genre of music, which works well for the band in this instance, for the overall vibe of this work falls on the line of alternative and pop; thus, them pulling this slight influence shows their audience what they are capable of doing within their musical craft.

 “Sleep Alone” starts with a slowly moving progression that grows in pitch and dynamics through an evolving semi-tone. Right before the first vocals of the track enter, there is a faint twinkling that is derived from the electronics introduced at the beginning. The vocals that are present at the beginning of the song move effortlessly throughout the vocalist’s range: moving through the lower to middle register of the voice. As the band rides through the verse and chorus, it is heard that the instrumental section sets a general groove that they then elaborate on in certain sections of the work, which helps to keep the audience engaged. Here and there, the band includes drops of instrumentation, which gives the track a few instances where they can breathe. The instrumental material that is heard throughout the work shifts back and forth from being steady to a rapid pace, which works nicely for the band as they transition into the end of the work by randomly moving to a half-time feel. This switch works well for the piece because it takes their memorable chorus and embellishes it to give the audience one last surprise before the end of the album thus making this a solid final track for the album as a whole.

 Final Thoughts: Overall, I would give this album a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I am giving this album such a score for a variety of reasons. The first reason is the content of this album is rock solid; meaning, there isn’t a bad track on the album. Moving from track to track, the band provided at least one moment that most audience members would love, which makes for a highly diverse album: even when it doesn’t seem so on the surface. The other reason I landed on this score is because within this album Waterparks took their characteristic sound and amplified it by about twenty percent, which produced an overly catchy album that everyone would want to listen to. Therefore, if you’re looking for a new album to sing along with at the top of your lungs: this is the one for you! Great job!

*”Entertainment” was released on January 26, 2018 through Equal Vision Records.

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