Whenever, I think of Medway, I think of Psych Pop and with a name like The Pastel Waves, you'd expect this album to be the same. However, that isn't the case here as the Quartet specialise more in Indie Rock. In fact Back In The Land Of The Living's default is nearest to Brit Pop.
But there is far more than that on the band's second full album. The songs develop into much more, there are hints of 60s Beat, Madchester and even at times Prog. Rather than just look for big choruses, the emphasis is on the arrangements which take you into different directions, sometimes in the same song.
These arrangements are big and give the impression that real thought has gone into each and every offerings. Rainy Days is like a cross between Scouse Pop and Folk-ish Rock, wonderfully meandering. The excellent First Ade, even sounds like it has invited Jon Lord into the studio.
Holiday Blues gets all jaunty in a second have of the 80s Indie way. Landscapes is more like a big 60s Ballad with a great pastoral vibe. Still Light is beautifully arranged, Joy has a top notch Bass line and Black Sheep would grace any Brit Pop album and also breaks into something splendidly Baroque, edging towards The Coral.
The stand out song here though is Dish It Out. A little melancholic with another fantastic arrangement and a top notch vocal from Joe Liste Romero. It really is a special song among many here. Indie Rock can get a bit shouty at times. There is none of that here, the album seems deliberately understated.
Both the production and instrumentation are spot on to allow a special rounded quality to the whole affair. If this is Brit Pop, it is a Brit Pop that I like. Not six repeated choruses a song, but thought, songcraft and a less direct method have gone into a fine album that demands repeated listens.
You can listen to and buy the album here.