Wave is the latest EP from Portland based post-rock/shoegaze outfit Nine:Forty:PM. We especially enjoyed this record due to its balance of ambient, atmospheric moments of bliss that are interlaced between loud and dense rock breakdowns. In one minute you may experience a lush and wide-sweeping glow of synths and groovy rhythms, before a wave crashes on along with a bombardment of glorious riffs. Wave maintains this wide and dynamic structure throughout its five-tracks, constantly building anticipation through each section where anything can happen, and this makes for a very compelling experience.
Opener “First Date” starts calmly with a drum sample and an accompanying synth, which then develops rapidly into a raging explosion of riffs. Yet with its many layers, the song remains nuanced, where the bass lines from J. Dustin Slowik and the control from drummer Tyler Baker carefully sets the mood. Already we see the band’s steady hand at play. “Out to Sea” is where they put on an absolute storm of shoegaze, and where the record launches into full volume. The crashing tsunami of riffs and rippling rhythms remind me of 90’s space rock pioneers Hum in their crafty arrangements, never letting the volume get in the way of the crisp and clear sound. Guitar and vocalist Jason L. Fredericks absolutely nails this one with the vocals matching the guitar’s energy.
Another highlight is “The Abyss”. I initially thought this would be dark and brooding but I felt a certain sense of comfort and calm through Lisette Heidtke’s synth work, which are then perfectly complemented by a soaring lead guitar. It’s the contrast between moody and intense that’s been a constant staple through all of Nine:Forty:PM’s songs, and in this one they’ve nailed that dichotomy really well.
Through blending post-rock and shoegaze Nine:Forty:PM has put their range of expression on an entirely different level. I’ve rarely found a dull moment while going through Wave. This is a band we’ll definitely keep our eyes on, and you should too!