Record Review - 5 June 10 2004

Longwave is on a roll. Quickly establishing a reputation as a first-rate guitar pop band, Longwave's new EP, Life of the Party, continues the New York quartet's ascent, building on the group's first RCA album, The Strangest Things, with five songs that buzz and churn between the spacey, watercolor dream pop of the title track, and the rugged, scabrous guitar roar of "We're Not Gonna Crack." Produced by Peter Minn, who also worked on Longwave's debut, Endsongs, the EP is rife with chunky textures, and with the band preparing to head back into the studio with John Leckie (who produced The Bends), the Radiohead comparisons show no sign of abating.

The aforementioned "Crack" is the hardest-edged rock Longwave has attempted, and points in an interesting direction for the band. Conversely, the rest of the album continues to work a hazy, tender pop line reminiscent of Mojave 3. The highlight of this set of songs is "Here It Comes," a cut as good as anything on the last album. On it, singer/guitarist Steve Schiltz rides his steady baritone croon over swelling sonics and an omnipresent jangle that swirls and swooshes in waves as Schiltz sings, "It's funny how things they change/It's hard to hold on to the things that leave you." Such bittersweet sentiments befit the music's epic sweep and the delicate swooning melodies, like a lazy lullaby from a far-from-cresting band.

Longwave plays the Echo Lounge Sat., June 12, at 9 p.m. $8.