Sweet Synth Nostalgia
The Mary Onettes are a true rarity in the faux-throwback world of contemporary synth pop: they’re earnest, they’re honest, and they’re damn convincing. Hit the Waves pairs cinematic grooves with ’80s harmonies: a slight departure from The Mary Onettes’ previously understated efforts.
“Don’t Forget (to Forget about Me)” is a particular standout, its staccato riffs and echo-laden vocals swirling through driving percussion. The eponymous “Hit the Waves” sounds just about the most current, though still slightly aged. Its minimalist guitar and bass sets a solid foundation for the soaring vocals that take center stage throughout the album.
Where the band’s previous LP, Islands, focused more on standalone soundscapes and only the slightest cohesion, Hit the Waves connects with each sonic ripple in the small pool of sounds The Mary Onettes seem to be drawing from. Those constraints work out in their favor, however. Wind chimes run rampant on almost every track, signaling a distinct change of vibe with each glissando. Breakdowns are ubiquitous and marked by their swirling echoes. The synth lines that are most prominent recall everything from Van Halen’s “Jump” to “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Nostalgia never sounded so good.