Pale Waves on embracing “heavy distortion and chaos and power” and how The 1975's Matty Healy got them hooked on Vox's coffin-shaped Phantom

Pale Waves
(Image credit: Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns)

The first thing that strikes you about Pale Waves’ Unwanted is that it is loud. Like, loud in the volume sense. Even with the dial turned down it still sounds up. It isn’t background music. 

All this is by design on an album that takes the Manchester band’s sound from the soft focus of indie and synth-pop toward something harder and more immediate. You could call it pop-punk, so long as it is on the understanding that the needle ping-pongs between either extreme.

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.