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THE NINTH WAVE

Rock music is nothing without its idols. The kind of gender-fucking, convention-skewering icons that have misfit teens smudging their eyes with kohl and covering their bedroom posters with lipstick kisses. Whose music teleports you into a kaleidoscopic dimension while also making your everyday life richer. If you haven’t had that feeling for a while, look no further than The Ninth Wave, today’s most intoxicating new band.

The four-piece music is majestic dark post-punk laced with stealth pop hooks and a firmly DIY ethos — at one 2016 gig in their hometown of Glasgow, they created a makeshift stage from disused palettes in a railway arch. But, unlike many of their scene’s peers, they treated their scrappy live shows as if they were being Periscoped to the world, and dressed accordingly in razor-sharp outfits that looked transplanted straight from the iconic ’80s counter- cultural club night Blitz. As well as cementing a reputation as a must-see live act, and alongside their two early EPs being lauded by BBC Radio 1 and The Guardian, their style nous also led to organic collaborations with fashion iconoclasts including Saint Laurent’s Hedi Slimane and London’s most disruptive new designer, Charles Jeffrey. “We never started with a mindset of ‘We want to be like this band,’” says frontman Haydn Park-Patterson, with a decisive tone. “We’re always trying to do something new.”

Integral to that is the four-piece’s yin-yang synergy, meshing the stately vocals and songwriting of Haydn with the melodic nous of bassist and vocalist Millie Kidd, as well as the technical finesse of percussionist Lewis Tollan. Take their 2019 single “Half Pure” — a narcotic mesh of crunching industrial textures with icy synths, and a gargantuan chorus that’s the stuff of goth- pop dreams — with pointed lyrics that skewer pack-mentality thinking. “Now you’ve misplaced your face, You’ll wear another one instead,” Haydn ominously intones, singing as if he’s getting rid of something with a bad taste. “Sometimes people don’t think for themselves anymore,” he explains. “You’re fed a certain way to think and a certain way to act, which is quite scary. ‘Half Pure’ is a lament about the frustration of existing inside our plastic WW3.”

 

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