The throaty melodic lead we find delivering the lyrics in the new single from Wave 21’s Brace Yourself, “Way Far Back,” is perhaps the greatest communicator of raw emotion in both this song and its parent album, but don’t think for a minute that this singer has nothing to support her gilded harmonies. Contrarily, the strings produce a rusticity that her fervor balances out brilliantly, and one could even argue that the combination of elements winds up creating a country-style core that might not have been present in this single otherwise. It’s got mad crossover appeal, which is a difference-maker if I’ve ever heard one in this business before.


There’s so much soul buried between the chords just asking for us to appreciate it in “Way Far Back,” and unlike the other two singles from this record, “All over & Over” and “Why Does it Happen,” I think the aesthetics run a little further south of the border than some critics might have acknowledged thus far. There’s an Americana bend to this track that sounds incredibly fetching when partnered with the other instrumental componentry beyond the vocal and the guitar parts, and to me, it’s half of what sells this single to audiences around the continent.

I’d love to hear more of the folky side that Wave 21 has going for them, and it’s especially prevalent in “Way Far Back.” The acoustic strings carry forth such a warmth that would be shameful to leave unexploited in the grander scheme of things, and as much as I like the rock accent in this record overall, it’s just not as audible nor as significant to the construction of the artistic narrative as the singer/songwriter-influenced elements are. I’d love to hear them go straight acoustic, but in any case, this band has my attention right now.

“Way Far Back” and Brace Yourself as a whole provide an interesting look into this group and what kind of aesthetical ambitions they’ve got as we get deeper into the 2020s, and from the looks of both the music video for this single and the tracklist for the album in general, there’s plenty of development still sitting on the horizon for Wave 21. They’re not quite finished growing into this sound and getting the most out of their melodic chemistry, but in this moment, they’re by far one of the more charismatic units in or out of their scene.

Sebastian Cole