The Ninth Wave
The Boileroom, Guildford.
This event is for over 14s only - No refunds will be issued for under 14s.
If there’s one defining characteristic of The Ninth Wave, it’s how the fast-rising Glasgow four-piece mix light and dark. Sonically, they shake the walls. It’s dissonance purified. On paper, they could be the kind of band who’d turn decibel levels up at shows just to mess with people’s heads. But there’s a pop pulse running through the songs on debut EP ‘Reformation’. For every bolt of raw noise, there’s a sugar coating. This first work tests the resolve of post-punk, drone and shoegaze, but the end result is a dazzling meeting ground between concrete and candy.
For the past two years, The Ninth Wave have bit-by-bit built a reputation as one of Glasgow’s most exciting, boundary-pushing bands. They began in the same self-supporting scene that’s brought the likes of WHITE, Neon Waltz and Catholic Action. Winners of Electric Fields festival’s unsigned bands competition, they also scored a slot on T in the Park’s prestigious T Break stage, before inking an EP deal with Distiller Records (Danny Goffey, Anteros). Building ground back home, they now have everything in place to become one of the UK’s biggest breakthroughs. Recent tours with Blaenavon and Baby Strange have only upped the feeling that they’re ready to go way beyond their Glasgow roots.
Their pivotal moment as a band so far took place in March this year, when they worked with esteemed producer Dan Austin (Massive Attack, Pixies, Sløtface). It was here where the group’s distinct, light-versus-dark sound truly began to find its own identity. “I don’t think any of us realised, ‘This is what we wanna sound like’, until we were in the studio actually making the songs,” states frontman Haydn Park-Patterson. They didn’t sit down and blueprint what they’d end up recording - instead, the process was defined by intuition and gut instinct. “It was automatic,” they say. This is a band chasing their own momentum.
Darkness lines the seams on ‘Reformation’. ‘Pale White’, which declares “time won’t stop for you” over a heady synth thud, is a ballsy anthem in waiting. ‘Liars’ sees the band’s lyricism entering the abyss: “You are killing me, again and again and again.” Whether it’s a relationship turned sour, or the feeling of inner claustrophobia, the band aren’t shy in tackling difficult subjects.
As their sound continues to become more fully-realised, The Ninth Wave’s visual side goes hand in hand. Connected to Glasgow’s art scene, they collaborated with artist Dylan Moore on ‘Reformation’’s single launch show. Moore created an engrossing wall of melted red plastic - the kind you might find in an underground club or Berlin’s darkest corners, like a Dali painting spread thin - to act as the band’s backdrop. Not every show can be an engrossing experience of this standard, but the group want their gigs to be different.
This emphasis on the visual side is backed up in ‘Reformation’’s evil-pivoted video, which captures the fear and horror of secret cults. The same applies to on-stage attire - black lipstick, refusal to wear clothes outside of primary colour parameters. None of this is calculated, it’s just how the band choose to express themselves. Park-Patterson says his distinct look can sometimes provoke confused reactions – “It’s fun to make people stare at you. You can see in their faces, ‘Who are these pricks’?” – but why exist to please everyone? Everything about this band fits together - the music, the visuals, the attire, the mentality. They know where they’re headed.
The Ninth Wave are still no doubt finding their feet, but they have the look of a band releasing what they stand for more and more by the day. It’s rare you’ll find that in a new band, especially one still taking their first steps. “We’re finding that individuality. We’re not just ‘a Glasgow band’ - we’re a band called The Ninth Wave.”