Splashh are a band who took their time to truly explore a whole new world of sounds. After reinventing most of their originals ideas to finally release the much anticipated Waiting A Lifetime, their sophomore record, we ask: was it worth the wait?
2016. On February 25, Splashh came out of their hibernation to release a statement across social media: "Pretty much want our record to sound like this". "This" referred to a live version on French television of Moon Safari by Air. "We're all big fans and there's definitely a few moments on the record you can hear it", confessed synth player Jaie Gonzales to Third Outing.
Now, fast forward eight months, and the band release their highly anticipated first single Rings. The song begins more or less on a standard Splashh style melody. It's fast, upbeat, and oozes noisy guitar sounds. At first, you may think Splashh are a good rock band. Plain and simple. But then you realise Rings is based upon volatility and a seeming relentless non-conformism too. Then at 1.24 sec, the track breaks into a new dynamic; a slow, atmospheric, space-pop whirlwind begins.
With Rings it sounds like the band's ethos is to adhere to rock-song schematics while scribbling between the lines. Here's what we mean by that. "I think with this record we wanted to show, to ourselves even, that there are still so many places you can go as a guitar oriented band that feel new and exciting. It's fun to see how far you can take it before you stop sounding like a guitar band", explains Jaie. Then it's this combination of analog keyboards, the dependable traditional rock instruments, guitar and bass, this combination with unpredictable chord progressions, various experimentation and the time spent in studio alongside sound mavericks such as Nicolas Vernhes at the Rare Book in Brooklyn that has shaped Waiting A Lifetime. That has given Splashh a new dimension. They are adhering, but those "between line scribbles" are outstanding.
"When we went into the studio we ended up reinventing all the ideas we had and it kind of brought us full circle. 'Rings' felt like an appropriate first taste of that"
Rings is indeed an example of a band whose imagination seems limitless. And then further noises such as See Through confirm this new dimension Splashh have now entered. "'Comfort' was a true bedroom DIY record", tells Jaie, whereas Waiting A Lifetime is without a doubt a studio record. The tag isn't derogatory. It simply means that the new record is full of overdubs, little subtleties and refinements. Take Gentle April and its big orchestra feel, as if the band are heading to a 90's Jason Pierce anthem kind of vibe!
However, it's the following number Waiting A Lifetime which is the song which best marks Splashh's transition. This is the track which is fully embedded with the band's old and new sound. It looks back to the past but also turns towards new ventures. That's the album's strength. It's a record which doesn't sound totally new to the long-time fan but succeeds where so many second records fail; experimenting without loosing its touch, its trade-sound.