Acid Wave – heart2heart [REVIEW]

Not too long ago, I was having a conversation with some friends about what genre of music we considered the most romantic. We threw out a few options – sultry jazz? piano ballads? – before deciding that the answer was somewhere within the realm of shoegaze and dreampop. Those kinds of songs envelop you in their warm, gentle distortion and sweep you up into its gliding soundscape; a solid shoegaze album sounds like falling in love.

Which brings us to heart2heart, the most recent album from Texas five-piece Acid Wave. The album is about love in all of its forms – platonic love, romantic love, love for people, love for life, love for love. It’s bursting with love, overflowing with it and weaving it into every element: love is dripping from the fuzzy guitars, the breezy vocals, the underpinnings of the basslines…

Acid Wave has taken the pure, undiluted feeling of infinite love and distilled it into a just-under-thirty-minute album. It’s incredibly impressive – of course, artists have been trying to capture this essence for as long as art has existed, but it’s not every day you get something that nails it as well as heart2heart.

While I was first listening to the album, I thought: wow, if anyone ever put any of these songs on a mixtape for me, I would melt immediately. And actually, when I heard “Peach Girl” for the first time, I added it to my “girls in love” Spotify playlist as soon as the first line filtered in: “Can I stay a while, safe in your smile?” The track “My Favorite” is just as charming: “My girl, she’s the moon’s favorite / so sweet, my dream, she’s worth it.

And when you pair these unabashed and unwavering confessions of love with the swirling rhythms and soothing instrumentations, it really does feel like you’re falling in love right by Acid Wave’s side. They pull you into their world, where it’s eternally summer and you can spend endless hours gazing at the moonlit sky with your lovers and your best friends by your side.

heart2heart also takes some time to tackle self-love during its running time. “Basement of My Brain” focuses on this, with Audrey Villalobos singing over a comparatively sparse track about rediscovering oneself. And even on the more straightforward love songs, it’s not all about the subject of adoration – there’s time for the one professing their love to introspect and examine where they fit into things. It’s a great, surprisingly rare inclusion: to remind listeners that not only should you express love for those around you, but love for yourself, as well.

Jet Gil-Robert, Audrey Villalobos, Mary Moreck, Eva Vasquez, Isanette Olivarez
(clockwise from upper left) Jet Gil-Robert, Audrey Villalobos, Mary Moreck, Eva Vasquez, Isanette Olivarez 📷: Victor D. Carrasco

It’s not surprising to read that the members of Acid Wave consider themselves to be “besties” – it’s apparent that within all their love songs is a deep love for one another. The group consists of drummer Audrey Villalobos, keyboardist Jet Gil-Robert, guitarist Eva Vasquez, bassist Isanette Olivarez, and drummer Mary Moreck. There isn’t a frontperson taking the lead: almost everyone takes a crack at lead vocals, and sometimes they switch it up and have Vasquez on bass instead of Olivarez, or Moreck on keyboard instead of Gil-Robert.

Everyone seems to effortlessly vibe with one another no matter who is filling in which role, and that openness and fluidity adds something special to the music. It’s clear that this sort of synchronization could really only happen within this specific group of five friends.

You can follow Acid Wave on Twitter and Instagram. Support heart2heart on Bandcamp, or stream wherever you listen to music.

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