Thursday, December 7, 2023
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Neon Waltz – Thoughts / Dreams / Regrets Review

Neon Waltz has hit on a cycle with this title. Or is it a triangle? Either way that loop of Thoughts / Dreams / Regrets is a daily occurrence for some, probably for many. It is for Neon Waltz. Those coastal breezes and the percussion that pushes through do well to reserve themselves. It is the expected rush that Neon Waltz neuters and they are all the better for it. Where that rush still comes through, it is not as and when it would be. One of many moments that prove the flourishing tones of Neon Waltz are worth exploring, and Thoughts / Dreams / Regrets, with its cautious optimism and gliding synth, is a great place to begin. 

Maybe that is from a sense of loss and a feeling of falling away at the seams. Neon Waltz is a slimmer unit than they were for debut corker Strange Hymns. Their streamlined appeal now comes from what four members can do in place of six. Louder moments, boisterous meaning and connectivity that will strike nicely on this new wave of openness in indie music, Neon Waltz has struck at the right time. That tight balance between prior experience and a new desire gives Thoughts / Dreams / Regrets some steady placement and a sense of purpose. It reflects on a time after major changes were made, dealing with the fallout and attempting to assemble whatever may be left over. Doing that can be harder, harsher and hope-induced if handled right. 

Jordan Shearer on lead vocals does just that. His softer tones and swaying charm is the very core of a piece that sees Swanson brothers Jamie and Kevin work out some rich grooves for their latest single. Where would that single be without Darren Coghill holding that foundation together? He is the crucial part of what makes Thoughts / Dreams / Regrets tick. An absolutely crucial piece, but so too are all the members. For all the potential for worry and doubt, the fear that comes from throwing a new line-up out to an established, building audience, Neon Waltz has nothing to worry about. Strike that regret off and enjoy the spoils of a band who even in their periods of doubt can produce and release a quality single.  

That is the aim at the end of it all, is it not? Striking through with that conviction and with a convincing style is the stuff of dreams. Neon Waltz makes a nice, echoing indie track that puts them firmly in the lyrical highs and with indie-pop charm bleeding from Thoughts / Dreams / Regrets, it is hard not to fall for the lush flow. Love the truth and let it flow, Neon Waltz builds up toward their second album with a strong first track and a single worth repeating over and over. Their confidence could have taken a knock but there is no sign of that on this, an assured single that proves the next steps of the band are promising, certain, and dependent on striking tones of the modern indie movement.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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