Album review: Microwave – Let’s Start Degeneracy

Atlanta indie-emos Microwave dabble in otherworldly sounds on fourth album, Let’s Start Degeneracy.

Album review: Microwave – Let’s Start Degeneracy
Jake Richardson

Despite a title that suggests they’re embracing their inner degenerate, the fourth album from Atlanta’s Microwave – the band’s first in five years – is anything but a riotous affair. Having taken their time in crafting their next move, the trio have returned a more thoughtful and contemplative proposition, armed with a 10-track collection of mellow songs that fall somewhere between shoegazy emo and ambient indie-pop.

Portals – sung by frontman Nathan Hardy’s girlfriend – opens proceedings with some beautiful, hymn-like vocal melodies which set the serene stage in which Let’s Start Degeneracy plays out. There’s plenty of ambient indie/alt. pop fare on display across this record, the best of which – Ferrari and, particularly, Straw Hat – ooze melody and charm. There are moments when the band stick to their more traditional emo roots, like the solid Circling The Drain and lead single Bored Of Being Sad, but you get the sense the ultimate goal here is to reach for music that’s somewhat more philosophical.

Further alluring sounds emerge as the album builds to its conclusion, with Strangers shuffling along with plenty of groove, before the smartly written Huperzine ends things on a high, showcasing the charming emotion that Microwave’s fourth album possesses when working at its most effective.

It will likely feel a little too self-indulgent for some, although given its creation was inspired partly by the band’s experiences with the psychedelic ayahuasca, that’s perhaps understandable. With enough interesting new sounds and ideas on offer, Let’s Start Degeneracy has opened the door to an intriguing future for its creators.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Turnover, Paramore, Balance And Composure

Let’s Start Degeneracy is out now via Pure Noise

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