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Hundred Waters – “Communicating” Review

Dream pop finesse
Hundred Waters
Hundred Waters

Hundred Waters are a band that have really grown on me over time. I enjoyed their first album but I think I approached it from the wrong mindset from what it offered, and then found their follow-up album channelled ethereal electronica into something you’d dance to underground. “Communicating” continues that push towards something dance worthy but at its very heart, it’s really a musical ear caress of gentile synths, voices and rhythms that’s as introvert as it is extrovert.

“Particle” opens strongly with power chords, warped synths and catchy riffs. It’s as dance floor as the band get and euphoric too. The think bendy bass, wordy lyrics and heavy beats really push through to make something radio friendly. “Wave to Anchor” follows the trend with another would be hit. It’s bright synths, happy piano riffs and vocal collages create a mermaid like sirens call. The gem in Hundred Waters is Nicole Miglis’ smooth vocals across a variety of registers and they are on fire here. After two party stonkers “Prison Guard” is a darker, hushed track. It’s militant drum roll is kept quiet in the background of the mix, rustling along but providing intensity behind the washes of synths and voices that weave a story of intrigue. “Parade” is a bluesy ballad that strips everything back – aside from the production on Nicole’s voice. It makes her sound like she’s singing in a cave and whilst it usually suits the electronica songs, this is almost entirely acoustic based and so it sounds a bit strange.

“At Home & In My Head” returns us to the dance floor but take us towards the more aggressive synth sound that surrounded the second half of their album “The Moon Rang Like A Bell”. I think this borrowing of rock tropes really works well for the band, and there’s a hint of GoGo Penguin in there too. “Firelight” in contrast is a beautifully warm gospel like vocal piece. Nicole’s voice is layered like a choir whereas the R n B beats and minimal spacious synths support the lullaby dream vibe. It’ll be an underrated track among the many gems here, but seek it out. After the short mood piece “Re” we have the creepy but alluring “Fingers”. It’s twisted melodic bells, downward sloping chords and chunky drums over despondent lyrics make the track feel grande, inspired and emotive. It works perfectly for the title track to slink in. It’s a simple minor chord pattern with “are we communicating” being sung on loop under a heavily vocodered main vocal line. Each part of the song gets more and more dramatic over time with guitar feedback and added noises filtering in – its possibly my favourite track on the album and is utterly amazing. It bleeds into the cathartic “Blanket Me” which has more in common with an epic action movie soundtrack than dream pop as things go very post-rock – and again it is amazing. Much like how Daughter can make those tracks that boil up to an explosion of pure emotion – Hundred Waters achieve it here with this arc of songs. It closes off with the dream like “Better” with hazy guitars, bluesy chords and an extended distant outro that makes you feel like you’re saying goodbye before jetting off to another planet.

Whilst not moving too far away from their signature sound, Hundred Waters perform very successful tests of post-dream pop and dance floor fillers here. I suspect some people may have a preference for either end of the scale, but the album is utterly beautifully and will inspire you to dream.

Recommended Track : Wave to Anchor

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