Music is like a language. Much like math, it’s capable of being understood universally across cultures, even for the layperson. Prog rock is a dialect of that language and seems to have spoken to the members of Wavesign, a quartet from Santiago, Chile, and coerced them to share their own stories. They’re a new band, pulling from established influences like Porcupine Tree and Riverside with a little bit of Haken thrown in. Flowing Sceneries, their debut EP, shows a promising start to a band that could one day be on the lips of the prog rock community-at-large.
It’s evident pretty quickly that the overall feel of this EP is rock lushness punctuated by strong, vivid moments of emotion. Music is paced in a cinematic manner that makes the storytelling and progression of each song feel nice and natural. “Misguided I: Never Shine” and “Misguided II: Paper Wings” are great examples of this, especially in how the first song transitions into the second. “Misguided I: Never Shine” sets the tone with beautiful piano, bass and drums that are easy on the ears. There are some calmer moments of songs like this that are more jazz-infused than straightforward prog rock. Those moments lend to the lighter, ethereal feel of the EP.
By the time you notice that the song has passed over to “Misguided II: Paper Wings”, the mood has flipped considerably with guitar leads and drum strikes that command your attention. This track is almost nine minutes long and has its tonal highs and lows, as if the track itself is a bird diving and ascending through the sky. All elements blend well together. The softest moments are reserved for the piano and Miguel Sepúlveda’s voice, which is amateurish but has nice charm. What he may lack in vocal mastery, he makes up for with a passion that carries over to his guitar playing.
Occasional hard and heavy riffing gives the music a decidedly rock vibe (this is prog rock after all), but other times it’s understated, which isn’t very typical for music like this. It’s not uncommon to go a minute or two straight on this EP and not hear a guitar at all on here, leaving most of the atmosphere to the piano, drums and bass as mentioned before. “Dusk”, probably my favorite song, does change it up some. It’s reminiscent of earlier tracks with its structure and instrumental makeup, but the piano is swapped out for a softer synth, again emulating that jazzy sound. There’s also a nice saxophone solo that doesn’t feel shoehorned in and matches the tone of the song, and it’s times like this where I realize that the smaller things in the composition of these songs keep the music from getting dull or repetitive.
After several listens and digging a little deeper into the layers of each track, I like it a lot! I don’t think the weaknesses of Flowing Sceneries are necessarily weaknesses of Wavesign themselves, nor are they fatal to the experience or overall enjoyment of the music. Some more vocal consistency on Sepúlveda’s part, more performative and instrumental exploration, and the addition of small elements to flesh out songs would go a long way (the quiet, ASMR-worthy spoken word parts at the end of “Black Sunrise” and “Misguided I: Never Shine” were great touches). Hell, I even think it would be nice to see a whole song sung in the band’s presumably native Spanish.
Flowing Sceneries delivers a good proof-of-concept for a fledgling band that’s getting their footing and perhaps still trying to find their place in a genre that’s as vast as the scenery brought to life by Wavesign‘s lyrics. Some tightening of elements and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone will prove to benefit them in the long run. I’m very interested in where they go from here and how they handle a full-length release if they choose to pursue that endeavor. Keep an eye on this band, prog fans. While this EP simply orbits greatness, their next effort just might be the meteor that shatters the scene.
Notable Tracks: “Black Sunrise”; “Misguided I: Never Shine”; “Dusk”
FFO: Riverside, Porcupine Tree, Haken