Published Oct 15, 2019The new solo record from Tokyo Police Club frontman Dave Monks continues a streak of good-not-great releases from Team Monks that's likely to resonate with only the most devoted fans.
On a Wave is a stripped-down, light pop album that, just like the 2015 EP All Signs Point To Yes, possesses the spirit of a Tokyo Police Club project, but the intimacy of a friend whispering secrets in your ear.
At times, however, those secrets can be a bit hard to understand, as if that friend is less whispering something cute and more thinking out loud with you in the room. Monks spends the bulk of the album contemplating themes like religion and loneliness, and while it's a new and welcomed shakeup to his songwriting, there are no pertinent revelations or takeaways to be found.
Take for instance, closing track "Ultimately," where Dave delivers what is ostensibly his thesis after an album's worth of philosophizing: "Ultimately you should do something if you want." It's this generic and passive bit of advice that, although well meaning and technically wise, lands with a brutal thud.
With the exception of the first two tracks, "No One's Child" and "Don't Go Falling to Pieces," there's little levity on the 11-song album. Because of those songs' early arrival, things go from fun to chill to slow to boring dangerously quickly, with almost the whole back half being forgettable. It's likely the project may have benefited from having its tracklist cut down and packaged as a six-track EP. As is, On a Wave is fine. (Dine Alone)