ASHRR like to toe the line between darkness and light in their music, and in the new single “Waves,” they just might have delivered the most balanced cocktail of the two so far. First element noticeable in this track and its Hollywood-quality music video is the gritty bassline, a component of a boisterous beat that only gets more vicious as we go along with the band’s throttling play. There’s a pop song structure being put to good use here, but it’s noise-laden and grungy, as if to deliberately contradict one aesthetic with another just as recognizable to the serious audiophile and casual listener the same.
While the track itself is a juggernaut in every way, the music video for “Waves” is a cinematic beat unto its own existence. There aren’t a lot of props here, but there is an emotional edge to the narrative introduced through the multi-interpretive presence of a goldfish that overwhelmingly adds a different dimension to what the song might mean. The production style is polished and ready for any mainstream audience to take a peek at it, which is something else I didn’t think I would be seeing in this release given ASHRR’s thoroughly punkish reputation in Los Angeles.
When you mix the imagery in the video with the lyrics, rhythm of the instrumentation and even the efficiency of the arrangement on its own, everything adds up to a brooding industrial rock beat-down that feels a little more personal than anything else this band has released on a widespread level. They’re trying to be vulnerable and exposed here, not only through words but through the depth of their songwriting, which isn’t something I can say I’ve seen a lot of with regards to the output of their neighbors around the SoCal underground this past year.
I usually wouldn’t go for a song with as heavy a synth element as this one is sporting, but when it works as well as it does for ASHRR, it’s rather hard to deem the aesthetic it affords the music anything other than brilliant. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box even when you’re already considered one of the misfits, and in the case of “Waves,” we’re getting a look at a band that doesn’t really have any limitations – or hesitations – when it comes to experimenting with the parameters of their sound. They’re still growing, and they’re exploiting that growth process quite properly in this release.
You don’t have to be a particularly big indie rock fan to appreciate the sound ASHRR are cultivating as their own in 2020, but if you’re someone who lives and dies by the best hits of the American underground, their new single “Waves” is a track that you’re definitely going to fancy. While they aren’t a goth group, nor your standardly hipster post-punk revivalists, this is a band that knows their roots and wants to respect the credibility of their influences, and that alone makes them – and their new music – a gem every music buff should be keeping on their radar.
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