The debut of songwriting team Mary Lynn and Emmy Lou Doroschuk’s band Wave 21 is self-titled and includes ten country rock inspired numbers. “Ya Ya Ya” has the album come charging out of its corner with muscular drumming definitely playing to the rock side of the band’s character. It’s a lively number perfectly suited for a wide audience and I can’t imagine it being anything less than a powerful live number. The guitar playing on this opener won me over from the first and never let me down; the drumming and bass playing alike are every bit as assertive and Stefan Doroschuk’s production brings it into seamless balance. “Love Shouldn’t Make Me Cry” has a much stronger blues taste than anything previously on the album, but it’s always orchestrated well against their traditional acoustic sound and country influences.
They aren’t like most bands working in this vein however. The songwriting and musical performances alike are definitely faithful to a core sound, but they are adept enough to bring an appealing commercial polish to the material that many of their contemporaries and peers cannot match at this level. “It’ll Be One of These Days” embodies the aforementioned idea and brings, as well, a remarkably sophisticated songwriting technique from such youthful artists. We rarely hear such songs anymore – songs utilizing conversational language we’re all familiar while still threading it expertly together with sparkling melodic strands. Melody is crucial to songs even like the rough and ready sound of country rock “Pink Party”, but the rock spirit in this song is terse and crackling with life thanks to Nick Rivera’s jagged guitar fills. There’s a nice suggestion of this song being more overtly personal than most without it ever becoming too obscure.
“The Fun Times” will be a favorite for a lot of people. There’s a lot of reasons why – we hear the same maturity on full display here that came with the earlier “It’ll Be One of These Days”, but there’s an added sense of musical daring that carries it to a higher level. “Catch Me” is another artistic zenith for the sisters and the band alike as father Stefan Doroschuk’s violin introduces a new sound to the band’s makeup very complementary to the other elements and strengths of the band’s sound. “Far Away” closes up shop for the self titled debut n a surprising theatrical way opening with a brief bit of ambient effects.
Hailing from Montreal, Canada, Wave 21 will go as far as the Doroschuk’s songwriting talents and Mary Lynn Doroschuk’s voice can carry them. The evidence in these ten songs is that it’s, indeed, a far distance. They play as a band, not as a glorified vehicle for the Doroschuk’s songwriting talents, and the countless subtle touches along the way mark them as something very different than cookie cutter purveyors of the genre.