Longwave: If We Ever Live Forever (Bodan Kuma Recordings) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, July 5th, 2020  


If We Ever Live Forever

Bodan Kuma Recordings

Dec 03, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Twenty years is a long time in music, especially when half of that time has been spent on hiatus. So when Longwave announced their return last year along with a new bass player (Christian Bongers, formerly of Loudspeaker and Botanica) it was met with gasps of excitement from various corners of the globe, and rightly so.

As one of the more insightful bands to emerge from the New York underground scene at the turn of the century, Longwave managed to tread the line between atmospheric dream pop favoured by their peers a decade earlier alongside anthemic, contemporary rock of the day. It was this potent mix that brought them to the attention of major label RCA, resulting in 2003's sophomore album The Strangest Things and its follow up two years later, There's a Fire. While both records divided critical opinion, their fanbase remained loyally committed to the cause even if the commercial success enjoyed by fellow New Yorkers and former tour buddies The Strokes evaded them.

Subsequently dropped by RCA, fourth LP Secrets Are Sinister came out on independent label Original Signal almost unnoticed at the tail end of 2008. Which is a shame as it contained some of the band's finest material to date. So it probably wasn't too much of a surprise when founder members Steve Schiltz and Shannon Ferguson put Longwave on hold for the foreseeable future to concentrate on other projects.

Fast forward a decade, and Schiltz, Ferguson, drummer Jason Molina—who'd only played on the aforementioned fourth long player previously—and recently acquired bassist Bongers are back. As one would probably have expected, If We Ever Live Forever is a case of business as usual rather than attempting to reinvent the wheel. As the old adage says, if it isn't broken, why fix it? Across the album's 10 pieces, Longwave deliver at what they're best at and while not quite hitting the dizzy heights of those early recordings, there's plenty here to warrant further investigation.

While opener "Before You Disappear" recalls the aerial bombast of Mr. Mister's smash hit from 1985 "Kyrie," lead singles "Stay With Me" and "Dreamers Float Away" fall more in line with the traditional Longwave template. "1 x 1 (Disorder)" and "The Trick" fuse melancholic verses with surging choruses while dreamy closing epic "It's Not Impossible" transports us back into shoegaze heaven at the record's finale.

Consistently endearing without falling into the trap of yearning to be nostalgic, If We Ever Live Forever is a welcome return for one of the most elegiac bands to grace the early 2000s. (www.longwavetheband.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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