Birmingham quintet Ivory Wave have already established a reputation as local heroes and this month they’ve released their debut EP ‘Dream Nights’ which Clash Magazine describe as “it’s buoyed by a certain swagger, a rightly founded confidence in their abilities.”
Their exuberant, party-starting mix of swaggering indie attitude, dancefloor-filling beats and glistening synths inspires chaotic scenes wherever they go. Their songs speak of the experiences of youth across the country, but their gigs offer pure escapism with a sea of fans singing along as smoke-bombs amplify the hedonistic vibe.
The EP makes an immediate statement of intent with opening track ‘The Middle’. Kicking off with rave-tinged synths, it builds into a towering beat-fuelled anthem which contrasts its life-affirming energy with a darker tale of living for the weekend. ‘Pale Moonlight’ is just as insistent, spinning an acid house-flavoured vocal loop as if Happy Mondays were born in Brexit Britain. Current single ‘Weigh Me Down’ is an instantly contagious and energetic Hacienda-inspired hit that showcases vocalist George Johnsons confrontational and distinctive sound. Ivory Wave’s previous single ‘Uptown’ raised the game for the band, earning them Track of the Week on Radio X, plus further plays at BBC Introducing and Radio 1. They soon followed that by playing Birmingham’s most vital event of the summer, the all-star Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival.
Track ‘Uptown’ is about growing tired of endlessly living for the weekend – you spend all week planning a big night out only to wake up with a hangover and an empty wallet. The video captures that routine of spending every Sunday in lazy recovery mode, the only benefit of which is epic FIFA sessions on the Xbox. In fact, the band have been embraced by the football community, with adds to the Official Premier League playlist and Soccer AM’s New Music playlist plus match day plays at West Brom.
While Ivory Wave are natural party provocateurs, the EP’s closing track ‘Young Blood’ captures another side to them. It’s a slow-burner that gradually builds in intensity before it erupts into a wall-of-sound, with a final, rousing contribution from the Birmingham Community Gospel Choir accentuating the song’s feeling that better times are just around the corner.
‘Dream Nights’ was produced by Matt Terry (The Prodigy, You Me At Six) and recorded at VADA Studios, Warwickshire. It was mixed by the Grammy Award-winner Adrian Bushby (Foo Fighters, Muse, Everything Everything).
“Three years of work have been saturated down into 25 minutes of pure Ivory Wave,” says frontman George Johnson. “It’s time for people to pay attention – this is the best Birmingham has sounded for years”
Ivory Wave are five long-term friends in their early twenties who share an eclectic range of influences – from Oasis and The Stone Roses to Bowie, Sex Pistols and Human League. Based in a lock-up in Birmingham, their mission statement was to blend those influences into a modernist sound which would connect with their own generation.
The band – completed by Connor McMinn (guitar), Luke Morris (bass), Seb Baldwin (drums) and Rob Clarke (synths) – have developed a growing but devoted fanbase with a string of independently released tracks as well as gigs with the likes of the DMA’S and The Twang. It’s a grassroots approach which has further flourished through festivals including the Isle of Wight, Truck and Y Not.
Ivory Wave recently announced their biggest headline show to date at Birmingham’s O2 Institute 2, in association with new music champions This Feeling. Now almost sold-out, any remaining tickets are available from Ticketmaster. First, they’ll play the Shiiine On Weekender where they’re the youngest band to feature on the main stage. They’ll then join fellow Birmingham boys JAWS on tour.
The dates are:
21st – Liverpool, Hanger 34 (supporting JAWS)
22nd – Edinburgh, The Mash House (supporting JAWS)
23rd – Newcastle, Riverside (supporting JAWS) 29th – Leeds, The Wardrobe (supporting JAWS)
30th – Coventry, The Empire (supporting JAWS)
3rd – London, Camden Assembly (with LONA)