Narrow Waves’ debut single, “Reducer”, begins, lyrically, with a bit of surrender. “She tells me what to do, I don’t put up a fight,” sing co-vocalists J.R. Strikes and Sarah Gordon, before repeating the line for grander effect. Strikes offers the bit with the casual urgency of Psychedelic Furs’ Richard Butler, while Gordon’s heavenly take glides just gently enough underneath.
This notion of a battle, and eventual concession is at play throughout the sextet’s first track, which we are pleased to premiere this morning on Vanyaland. Synths dance along with Gordon’s violin, as an acoustic guitar pushes and pulls both to the finish fine. The track is an intriguing bit of modernized modern rock from the new Boston band, which now sets its collective sight on its first show, arriving March 6 to O’Briens Pub in Allston alongside Journalism, Jill McCracken & The Misadventures, and Charles.
Strikes tells us that lyrical inspiration for “Reducer” comes from the work of deceased American poet Hart Crane.
“Hart Crane was frequently at odds with his own aggressive drive to create,” Strikes says. “In one poem, he describes a bell within a tower that rings so powerfully it reduces the tower to rubble, a metaphor for how the need to create can become a personally destructive force. The ‘she’ within the ‘Reducer’ lyrics is a personification of that same creative impulse which can reduce you to nothing when you feel like you’ve failed, or when you try to contain it. There’s an intentional feeling of tension and release within this track. That’s part of why we chose to release this song first.”
That impulse has led Narrow Waves to craft a rather untraditional sound, partly using traditional instrumentation. “It was an exciting challenge to combine traditional violin and modern synthesizers,” adds Gordon. “As instruments, they have different vibes, which at times can be at odds. Combining traditional music-making with modern technologies is what makes it interesting, and helped us create the shifts in mood throughout this track.”
“Reducer” is the first track off the band’s upcoming debut EP, which was produced at Galaxy Park Studios by Richard Marr and mastered by Jeff Lipton.
“In Narrow Waves, you can definitely hear the Psychedelic Furs meeting some classic Boston indie rock – blending the old school with a millennial vibe,” Marr tells us. “It was a pleasure to work with them on their first EP …I would expect they’re going to be getting some attention pretty quickly with the quality of their hooks and song-writing.”