Van Pierzalowski has been a very busy man these last few months. From moving back to the Bay Area (A.K.A. Yay Area) from Oslo where he spent some time regrouping after the dismantle of his last band Port O’Brien. To forming his newest musical project WATERS and releasing the debut album Out in the Light on September 20th. As well as almost non-stop touring in Europe and the US with different acts making sure his music gets to you. If you haven’t heard of WATERS yet you will soon.
I first caught wind of WATERS when they were opening for Mister Heavenly. It had been a while before then when a supporting act had sent me home with a song stuck in my head. At that time in San Francisco the album hadn’t dropped yet and so I went home with a fragment of a song in my head that I didn’t know (the oh-uhoh part in “O’ Holy Break 0f Day”). It wasn’t until the third time I saw WATERS that I walked out of the Satellite in Los Angeles with a copy of the album. Fair warning: Out in the Light is NOT another Port O’Brien album but it is about 35 minutes of twangy guitar licked tunes.
The album starts strong with the single off the album “For the One.” A guitar is strummed and you hear Pierzalowski’s distorted vocals come in: “oh my god I thought I was a free man out on the road…” enter drums and you’re hooked. “For the One” is definitely the most powerful song off the album and it is the one he usually ends his shows with. “O’ Holy Break of Day” has an incredible hook and the “oh-uhoh’s” are strategically placed. “Out in the Light,” as the title track is excellent. When the drums and the bluesy guitar riff kick in one can’t help but to start moving. He really shows off his voice in this track and it ends with him humming-almost cooing the melody.
Pierzalowski’s voice sometimes sounds very thin like in “Back To You” where he is almost shrieking “don’t know why I thought that before.” Most of the songs on the album are structured like this one. They start slow and get fast or start fast and end slow. It’s a formula type of sound but it works for WATERS. It never feels old. The drums and guitar complement each other very well in a way that even though it’s familiar sounding it’s not tiring, a perfect example is “Abridge My Love.” There are some acoustic tracks on the album too, “Ones You Had Before” and “Mikey Mantle” are some that balance out the thrill tendencies of some of the tracks. “Take Me Out To The Coast” is about as close as it gets to anything resembling his Port O’Brien work because it brings their stomping track “I Woke Up Today” to mind.
The lyrics in this album are solid. “Chasing what I thought was mine all along I never saw the light,” as he sings in “San Francisco,” there seems to be a lingering theme of finishing things and starting over, which isn’t surprising giving Pierzalowski’s recent circumstances. From the first song on the album he distortedly sings “I’ve seen too much of old and I’m not waiting,” a good reason one might accept for his departure from his last musical project. As I’ve said, Out in the Light is not another Port O’Brien album, but this is a very good thing. This is a solid record meaning it can be put on and played through without having to reach for the ‘next’ button. Out in the Light also happens to play very well live. Pierzalowski seems to have found a sound that suits him very well. Like he sings in “If I Run” “oh just hold it I ain’t through just yet,” give WATERS a chance you’ll be glad you did.