“It’s been a pleasure”
The rise and rise of Waterparks has been a journey that has been as fascinating as it is fantastical to watch. A worldwide alternative phenomenon and a best-kept secret all at the same time, Awsten, Geoff and Otto are the epitome of cult superstars and have done it all whilst marching to their own unique beat. From the on-the-nose scene commentary of 2019’s FANDOM through to 2021’s expansive and forward-thinking GREATEST HITS, they have dipped their toes in every pool and crafted a sound that continues to be unlike anybody else.
Though with INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, their first release for the legendary Fueled By Ramen, it feels as though they have strived to strip away the glitter, without losing any sparkle along the way, and delivered a record that is both their most streamlined but also absolutely sensational.
To compare where the band were during the making of GREATEST HITS to where they are now, you can tell just how much the world and the band’s lives have changed. GREATEST HITS was obsessive, insular and boundary-destroying, created at a time when being inside was the only option. In stark contrast, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY feels like the cool breeze on your face and the sun on the back of your neck. Hope, joy and opportunity are stitched into these songs, like on the romantically-driven “FUNERAL GREY” and head-spinning “BRAINWASHED”. Even during the more vulnerable moments – the fuzzy “SELF-SABOTAGE” and tender “CLOSER” – there’s still space for lessons to be learned and growth to be experienced. By peeling back the layers and heading straight for the jugular of the subject at hand, be it love, sex, friendship or the overarching feelings of success, the reward is so much bigger and more prosperous, and that’s something to be celebrated.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t still time for some absolute mayhem. There’s “REAL SUPER DARK”, which is precisely that, conjuring images of jetskis riding through offices and biting tongues until they bleed to try to sum up the feelings of juggling being in the public eye whilst your head is screaming. There’s also “RITUAL”, which incorporates dark emo rap verses and throbbing synths to devastating effect, delivering the most chaotic moment of the whole record. And then there’s closer, “A NIGHT OUT ON EARTH”, where Awsten utters “, Jesus hates my guts, it’s getting personal” before a liquid drum and bass beat cushions the ear. It also features a cameo from idobi’s own Mike “Fish” Fishkin!
In delivering both the straight-forward and the shimmering, the pristine and the polarising, Waterparks have once again upped the stakes for themselves. This is their most accessible collection of songs to date whilst still incorporating all of the quirks that have made them such an essential band for so many up until now. The stars are edging ever closer, and INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY feels like the record that will offer that last big boost towards Waterparks grabbing hold of them.
Buy it, Stream it, or Skip it?: Buy it. Buy it. Stream it. Scream it. Love it.
You can catch Waterparks on tour across the US with support from Hunny and Daisy Grenade, Elliot Lee and Sophie Powers on select dates.