Review Summary: Carrying mediocrity.
To be honest, I don't know much about Waterfall Strainer
, other than the fact that the indie rock quartet has proclaimed themselves to be the bizarre description of "timid rock". To their credit, though, they've actually amassed a pretty decent following for an independent band with no label (their Facebook is sitting around the 329 follower mark as of this writing, while their Instagram has about 785 followers). That said, I did try to give Carry It
a fair shot despite the fact that I don't normally lean towards the genre.
Opener "Blind Rage" begins with some guitar work that is actually pretty decent, if not a bit samey; I was also surprised by the significantly smaller amount of electronic elements, as many indie rock bands of today seemed to have an over-reliance on them; thus already making Carry It
a small bit of fresh air in a genre that's been nearly beaten down by the over-reliance of the gimmick. Unfortunately, most of the praise I can give it ends here; the drumming is still the same old, tired shtick common in the mainstream gimmick areas of the genre. Vocalist Nick Stola seems to struggle with holding notes at times, and he seems to have a lack of range; he consistently only reaches a few octaves, with "Melt" being a good example of his shakiness as a singer; backing vocalist Sophie Mullens, on the other hand, has a much better flow and and a much better range than Stola does, and the band would honestly be better off in the long run if they switched their roles; stand-out track "Bright" only adds to the proof that they either need to capitalize on Mullens' talent or have Stola take some vocal training. Stola's lyricism discusses the typical indie rock themes of loneliness, depression, and love; in other words, it's nothing to write home about, although it certainly isn't terrible.
Other than Stola's shakiness, the most glaring issue of Carry It
is the poor mixing; the drums are awfully quiet, even for a bedroom-made indie rock album, while occassionally the instruments begin to drown Stola's voice. Occassionally, the mix will even begin clipping, with the interlude displaying the worst of it. It's not even really part of the design for the sound they were going for; unlike, say, the standard mumble rap release, it's pretty clear that Carry It
was designed to be a vocal-driven album, yet this is marred by the poor production job done on the album.
To Waterfall Strainer's credit, they made a legitimate effort on Carry It
, and there are some parts where it actually shines and displays some potential. Unfortunately, it's ultimately brought down by the numerous flaws present, from Stola's mediocrity as a vocalist to the poor mixing and generic instrumental work. If they capitalize on their strong points, they could actually put out some decent content. Until they do, however, we have a giant box of—well, mediocrity; but there's definitely a slimmer of light in the tunnel.