Waters’ Out in the Light is supposed to distance Van Pierszalowski from his previous band Port O’Brien. This is a break up album and Pierszalowski wants you to know he’s taking things in a new direction.
The obvious change is to make things louder. Port O’Brien had more quiet songs than loud songs and Waters has flipped the ratio. This means more electric instruments and bigger drum beats.
It also means layers of fuzz over most songs. It adds some welcome grittiness to songs like “For the One,” but sometimes, like on “Back to You,” it feels forced (like when your always-happy, never-mad friend tries to show anger with a silly “grrr!”)
Thankfully, the songs still have similar melodic qualities to Pierszalowski’s previous work. The anthems are big and choruses soar. The opening songs like “O Holy Break of Day” will immediately hook the listener. The quieter songs still pulse with energy and feel familiar.
The lyrics are often obvious in reinforcing the main theme — “Yeah, it was fun, but I could never know if you were never the one,” he sings on the title track — but Pierszalowski sings them more confidently than he ever has. So when he gets to good lines like “I ain’t too old to give a shit,” it burns.
Out in the Light makes some superficial changes, for better and worse, but thankfully the core of what made Port O’Brien so enjoyable — good melody — is still at the center of Waters.
Out in the Light is available now on TBD Records in the U.S.