Inner Wave's dreamy 3 year comeback
Written by Mica Kendall
A month prior to the release of "Underwater Pipe Dreams," lead guitarist/vocalist, Pablo Sotelo, told Alt Philanthropy that since the release of “Sun Transmission”, Inner Wave has been working on a new album “for the last 3-4 years”, including a new collaborative recording process that caused them to redo the album “like a hybrid”, and a hybrid definitely worth the wait. Inner Wave’s anticipated album “Underwater Pipe Dreams," showcases Inner Wave’s exploration into new musical territories, consisting of more personal lyrics and the utilization of the acoustic guitar. Every song on the album transitions smoothly, providing the listener a different feel for each song. It’s almost as if the further one progresses and delves into the album, the deeper one sinks into the territory of the unachievable “pipe dream” reached by track 18.
The introductory track, Dream, instantly submerges the listener’s psyche into the album with Sotelo’s airy vocals that seem to mesh with the mystical sounding instrumentals that provide the listener with a glimpse of Inner Wave’s newfound sound. The next track, Eclipse, is one of the four singles pre-released before the album, along with Buffalo, Song 3, and Bower. Eclipse contains a harmonic melody with a focus on the rhythmic guitar played by Elijah Trujillo, while lyrically Sotelo metaphorically compares a one sided relationship to the obscureness of an eclipse with, “try it's right there for your eyes," with the lover only needing to reach out to make the relationship work again, but instead leaves Sotelo with “nothing left for me”. While similarly, Buffalo lyrically continues the theme of yearning for the resumption of a previous relationship that can never be resumed to what it once was in the past, due to the homewrecker that is “time” that “comes by and washes it down”. The next single, Song 3, stood out as the best representation of Inner Wave’s new sound on this album with its dynamic keyboard ballads, and how lyrically Sotelo portrays the artificiality present in being alone in an unrequited love with, “what's the point of trying if you’re never gonna listen." While also Sotelo passionately acknowledges knowing the real side of the lover with, “He thinks it's coming easy / I know you’re prone to dancing when nobody is home.” Lastly the final single, Bower, contains infectious guitar riffs with an upbeat melody focused around the conclusion of moving on from a relationship. With the cathartic line, “ You make me say it again/ I don't belong/ Yeah you make me say it/ I am done waiting”, Sotelo emphasizes the end of trying for a relationship that can never be the same again.
Elements from the prior album “Sun Transmission” are subtly evident in “Underwater Pipe Dreams” such as the high octane instrumentals and keyboard emphasis in Twnsion that seems to mirror the sound in 88. The key component that distinguishes this album away from “Sun Transmission” is the sense of intimacy contained in the three acoustic tracks on the album being Forest, Conversations, and Balto. The usage of the acoustic guitar on this album opens up Inner Wave’s more personal side that’s portrayed in a way that isn’t their usual perceived “psychedelic” sound most often associated with their fan favorite tracks such as Blacklight or Diamond Eyes. Forest and Conversations both retain a slow and steady beat in association with Sotelo’s soothing vocals focused upon trying to recover from the past relationship. While the last track Balto, serves as the perfect track in tying the album together by accepting how “unpredictable life is” and being able to “count on change”.
“Underwater Pipe Dreams” encapsulates how everyone in Inner Wave (Pablo Sotelo, Chris Runners, Luis Portillo, Jean Pierre Narvaez, and Elijah Trujillo) serves a pivotal role in the collaborative process, which is what differentiated this album from “Sun Transmission” and “III” with a fresh change in sound and a new sense of maturity. Although, a pipe dream is unattainable and a fanciful sense of hope, Inner Wave attained a new sense of sound that will only draw in more listeners into their dreamy winsome music.