COLUMN: Inner Wave’s ‘Apoptosis’ review


Ryan Meyer, Columnist

Social media has led me to another great album, perhaps my favorite to come out in 2021. Usually, the albums I write about are shown to me by the various Instagram accounts of outlets like Stereogum or Pitchfork, but this one, “Apoptosis” by Inner Wave, was brought to me by way of a tweet from the Bandcamp Twitter, reading “New & Notable: A hazy delight from @InnerWav; Chillwave synth lines co-mingle with psychedelic guitars, crisp drums and luxe string samples.”

This touches on nearly half of my favorite buzzwords, so I listened to the record and was blown away. There’s not really a bad song on the album, and there are some that transcend description. The plucked strings in the chorus of “Take 3,” the Black Sabbath “N.I.B.”-like bassline and the aforementioned “chillwave synth lines” mix for an impossibly catchy ensemble and unlike any I’ve heard in indie rock.

Inner Wave doesn’t miss with another chorus in the album closer “Bones,” where a tremolo-picked guitar and rich vocal harmony make it a candidate for my favorite song on the record.

Surprisingly, but also unsurprisingly given the left turns this record throws at the listener, the penultimate song “Mystery” features a perfectly minimal, textured horn line briefly before a distorted guitar takes over for a solo. This is probably the first time I’ve been sad to hear a horn go and a guitar come in, given my affinity for the guitar.

Speaking of guitar, the song “Air” has a riff where the way it’s seemingly being picked harder than normal, and in a way that matches the notes being played. It’s a subtle detail but one that keeps me returning to the song, as do the occasional horn moments. As great as the playing is on that song, it might not even be the best on the album, when compared to the dripping slide guitar of “Memory (Trees).”

I’m hesitant to compare such a great record to other artists, but there are moments where the guitars call to mind Mac DeMarco or the production may remind a listener of Tame Impala. However, I’ve listened to “Apoptosis” more in the past two days more than I’ve ever listened to the records of either of those indie stalwarts, which just goes to show how much I enjoy this album. It just boils down to being fun, catchy music.

This is Inner Wave’s fourth studio record, and since I haven’t been able to stop listening to it, I haven’t had a chance to explore the rest of their material. I can’t imagine it’s much of a letdown.

Ryan Meyer is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 581-2812.