Pale Waves are a four-piece band from Manchester made up of Heather Baron-Gracie, Ciara Doran, Hugo Silvani & Charlie Wood.
Their third studio album is a bold statement of reclamation – from the lyrics to the title itself. Unwanted reaches out into the community of misfits and LGBTQI fans, tapping into darker emotions than ever before while striking a fresh tone of defiance. Since their 2018 debut My Mind Makes Noises, the band has grown to embrace their queerness, with lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie writing more directly about her relationships with women. Meanwhile, drummer Ciára Doran has been posting updates about their transition over the last year, from starting testosterone to recovering from top surgery.
These experiences have shaped Pale Waves’ music over the last few years, but they jump to the fore on Unwanted. Unwanted is 13 tracks of classic pop punk with an edge. Think Sum-41 by way of Veruca Salt; all the crunchy guitars and rhythmic drive of a 2000s pop punk classic with the rage of a 90s rock band. At the time of writing, Baron-Gracie was listening to a lot of Garbage, Paramore, Metric, Sky Ferreira and Blondie – artists that fed into her desire to pull Pale Waves out of the indie and synth-pop world they started out in, and towards a harder, more alternative sound. “Unwanted is in your face, and that’s exactly what I wanted,” Baron-Gracie says resolutely. “I want Pale Waves to keep growing in this direction. Bigger, bolder, and more unapologetic.