Acid Wave – heart2heart

Hogar Records from El Paso in Texas have quickly established themselves as a label with an ear for quality music. Recent releases from EEP, The Rosie Varela Project and Ross Ingram are testament to that. You can imagine my joy to hear of a new signing to the label. Acid Wave are a dream pop band consisting of drummer/vocalist/songwriter Audrey Villalobos, keyboardist/vocalist Jet Gil-Robert, guitarist/vocalist Eva Vasquez, bassist/vocalist Isanette Olivarez, and drummer/vocalist Mary Moreck. Formed in 2018 the band have been making a name for themselves with their dynamic live performances and are now set to release their new album heart2heart. I asked Villalobos how this album contrasts with the bands previous work.

 “I wanted to go for a different tone with this album. It acts as a love letter so I wanted there to be more emotion in the songs.

I just felt so much love and I wanted to put that into songs for my partner, but heart2heart isn’t just a love story; instead, it interweaves all the growing pains of learning to love yourself too.”

Sounds like we’re in for an emotional ride. I can’t wait to dive in.

The album opens on the luscious tones of ‘New to Me’. The band are easing us in gently with a short but sweet introduction to their sound. The refrain of “You make me smile, I don’t want to lose this” is beautifully delivered and hooks us in.

Next up is the more pacy ‘Everything and Nothing’. There’s a great exchange here between the guitars and keyboards, almost like a call and response. It’s when this song moves into the chorus that we get a taste of what Acid Wave can do with a hook. You too will be smiling ear to ear by the end of this song.

‘Summer Moon’ is a more stripped back track until that chorus wraps us in its arms. This song is a real dichotomy. The lonely almost distant verses blossom into this warm and joyous refrain that just elevate this track into something special.

The drums get a work out on ‘Peach Girl’. This track is so unusual and intriguing. Everything follows the one melody line in the chorus which really shouldn’t work, but here it does. In fact I’d say it’s what makes this song. The drums however are next level, carving out a marching yet skipping rhythm. This would be an amazing song to hear live!

We take a short breather with ‘Lullaby Interlude’. Utterly beguiling and comforting it’s a massive hug of a song. The higher register guitars on this I particularly loved, reminding me of some of Orange Juice ‘s more romantic numbers. High praise indeed and well earned.

No sooner has it begun then it fades out and we’re into ‘Blushing’. It’s becoming more and more apparent as we get into the album the importance this band place on their hooks. This chorus is exquisite. The drum break leading into this reverb washed moment of utter clarity, where this song pulls into absolute focus. It’s so visceral and moving.

As if to say “hold my beer” in comes ‘Make Me Drown”. This song just soars into the chorus, like flying through clouds. The verse is beautifully punctuated with the drums off kilter rhythm pulling right on to the beat for the change. The guitars here range from dark and brooding undertones to porcelain bright chimes and it’s just so effective. The Death Cab like keyboards only further endears this song to me making it my album highlight.

‘My Favourite’ is a light and airy love song. The verses punctuated this time by the bass line, playing off the guitar lick. It’s a neat trick and really effective so that when that chorus appears, it’s all the more effective. The band play about with the dynamics with this track dipping in and out keeping the listener on their toes.

It’s that use of dynamics that comes to play next on ‘Basement of My Brain’. We start really minimal before slowly bringing the band in gradually so as not to overwhelm the song. It would’ve been so easy for them to make this another gossamer light chorus but in a show of quite savvy restraint they don’t. Instead, they allow the vocal to remain solo, single tracked. Much like our own inner monologue. It’s testament to the quality of the vocal that this not only works but actually it makes the entire song.

The album closes out on the chiming chords of ‘Sulli B’. If a song ever sounded like a farewell, it’s this one. Its slow tempo allows room for the emotion in the vocal to shine through. When Vasquez sings “Can’t seem to find the tears, I wish I could cry” you absolutely believe it. This connection is what will send you back to the beginning to listen again, it’s the perfect end to this album.

In heart2heart, Acid Wave have created a moment in time that’s all theirs. We’re welcomed into it and in that moment, we dream. We dream of love lost and hearts on fire under an infinite starlit sky. That is a remarkable feat and one that is going to win this band a devoted following.

You can grab a copy of heart2heart from May 5 2023. It’s available on CD, vinyl and download from Acid Wave Bandcamp page.

You can follow Acid Wave on social media here…

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