On an On – And the Wave Has Two Sides
Roll Call Records
– out now
3 / 5
Minneapolis trio On an On comes back to our blog with their sophomore release, and we’re going to say they’re getting better. A pastiche of pop and electronica, the Minnesotans have refined their sound, honed it to where it hits directly, no frou-frou, just click on the dance switch and let it jam. But while we appreciate the effort, and there are certainly highs to the album, we’re going to say that And the Wave Has Two Sides isn’t as deep as it seems: despite a few singles, and perhaps even including them, this smattering of dance-inspired tracks doesn’t have it. These tracks lack that kind of personality we look for in an album. What remains are some decent choruses, some nice beats, but ultimately, a Wave that doesn’t really peak or arch or, well, flow quite the way we’d hoped.
We do have some favorites here. “Icon Love” is our top of the twelve, with a toned-down, 80s feel to the electronic component. Next up is the obligatory dance-floor number “It’s Not Over,” which hits all the notes that it should. But even though we like it, and it’s enjoyable, we wish it’d hit some weirder notes, add more color to it (see B&W cover above), flesh out a bit. It works, yes, but at some point we’re going back to Chain Gang of 1974 et al. It’s depth, really. And Wave lacks a bit of that.
On An On makes good strides with their sophomore, but feel like they’re still splashing around in the pool a bit. “Icon Love,” and then take a pass.