The new release by Portland, Ore. band Waister started as a fuzzy piece of detective work. Little info was present when I began listening to write this review. I uncovered a few shows documented in Portland, but until this week, finding names of the band members was a like waiting for your hen to pop out a golden egg.
Anonymity aside, Waister’s The Clouds That Airplanes Make (released on Bandcamp) is a brief, consumable course (21ish minutes) in Dinosaur Jr. song structures and late 80’s college radio checkpoints. Front man and songwriter Drake Elliot sings opener “Chunky” in an authentic J. Mascis style; unhurried and reverbed. Lyrically, a cryptic synopsis of a dead dog, addiction, lost lover, or combo is washed in druggy guitars and sustained metallic notes of thickening paste. This stays intact on “The Clouds That Airplanes Make”, finding Elliot moving his words only a smidge quicker. “Saturday” is a refreshingly shaken shoegaze version of all things Galaxie 500. “Breathe” features Justus Proffit on guitar and runs melodicism above the basement grit with a wiry, clean sound. Deciphering lyrics is a weekend task, but a gorgeously crafted song to boast.
The final half of Clouds scratches a similar itch. “A Name Like Egg” encourages headphone use amid spitfire guitars, ruckus lo-fi drumming, and resplendent stereo-recorded vocals. “Left Hand” pours out a smooth concrete bass line, which assists later in giving structure to a spry guitar solo. “Participation Trophies” sums up the record with its depressively bright anthem reach for the lonely, but closer, “Superbowl 31”, the longest of the eight songs, is the fitting bookend to a DIY recording that should garner some forthcoming attention.
Throughout Clouds, Waister confidently inches toward the railing without falling over and captures a frame worthy photo while at it. Elliot and co. toes the line between finding honesty in the fragile, human condition, while continually frosted over by their unpolished, anxiety-filled sound. Waister’s relatively unknown status may deteriorate if they continue to scan and capture the horizon for as many astral streaks as they document on The Clouds That Airplanes Make.
(Check out ‘The Clouds That Airplanes Make’ below via Bandcamp.)