Indie rock can be defined, generally speaking, by a catchy melody and lyrics relating to human frailty and addictions, often pervading a folksy hue. Such music is inherent in compositions by Spoon and Pavement, and now Duluth, Minnesota’s homegrown band No Wait Wait can be included alongside such respected company. Lead by Marc Gartman, No Wait Wait evokes an alt-pop presence on their second album About You, the band’s self-produced affair.
The songs on About You could easily fit in on a Pedro The Lion disc, which could be No Wait Wait’s grandest flaw, crafting songs that they indelibly enjoy but can be mistaken for another alt-pop artist. The band tweaks their mod-pop slopes with keyboard psychedelics dotting through the guitar and rhythm arrangements. The concept is reminiscent of Hüsker Dü’s melodic hardcore, and shown in numbers like “Don’t Give Up (On Your Man)” and “Lost In The Bottle.” No Wait Wait doesn’t get too fancy in their arrangements, but they pose dynamic shifts that grab the listener’s attention. The vocals ride along the movements with a cozy stance. “For What” displays elements of new wave and lounge music which offer a warm complement to Gartman’s honeyed toned tenor keys. The cymbal action is lightly sprayed through the melody, tweaking it gently.
“Knight In Shining Armor” has a Pavement elevation in the vocals and instrument lifts, which make it sweetly melodic. “How To Fake It” adds to No Wait Wait’s sweetly melodic alt-pop arias with a Stephen Malkmus-like scaffolding in Gartman’s vocal registers. “Alabama” extends No Wait Wait’s repertoire into a bluesy rock atmosphere on the guitar angles and piano segments. The vocals sustain a heightened level of control above the activity in the melody below.
No Wait Wait’s songs show a sweetness in their melodic textures; their vocals and instrumentals work in unison and stimulate each other’s movements and directions. The melodies are certainly of a familiar nature, but they have the chops to become classics much like their primary influences, Hüsker Dü and Pavement.