Onlap Album Review – Waves

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Review By Dave Martin

Onlap are an alternative rock group hailing from Paris, France. The band comprises Pierre on guitar and backing vocals, Franck on Bass, Florian on guitar, Guillaume on vocals and guitar and Andrea on drums. The band has clear influences from 2000 rock and metal and this can clearly be heard in the tracks on this release. To date most of their work has been self-released starting with their first album “A Leap in the Dark” released in May 2009, 3 years after their inception. They have gone on to release several other EPs and albums including “The Awakening” in 2012, “Onlap goes Nightcore” versions 1, 2 and 3 released in 2016, 2017 and 2020 respectively.  

This album “Waves” marks the first full release since singing with AFM records. It comprises 10 songs plus two additional reworkings of other tracks. My first impression of the album is that it is exceptionally varied, and different songs are clearly influenced by different artists. In their Youtube channel description the group names several musicians that influence them including Papa Roach, Linkin Park, Nickelback, Story of the Year and Skillet. Track 5 “Ghosts” is very similar to the song “Gravity” by Papa Roach and even includes the title in it’s lyrics.

The minimally backed, vocal introduction also plays homage to the Papa Roach song. In stark contrast track 6 “Never too late” wouldn’t feel out of place in the The Greatest Showman. The more ballad styled track is a collaboration with Kiiara and is a deviation from the more Nu-Metal stylings of the album. The contrast on male and female voices works well and I can well imagine an audience with phone torches swaying at a concert.  “Hypnotised” is a more traditional rock track but is accented by a guitar solo that sound like they belong in a 90s Japanese RPG computer game.

Following on, the record launches into the Skillet inspired “Never Ending Winter”. In addition to the aforementioned inspiration, the track uses dramatic pauses and guitar to add effect to the listener. The start of “Who killed the plan” would not seem out of place on an early Black Veiled Brides EP particularly with its use of backing singing before incorporating some heavier vocals. “Nevermind” starts much heavier than the other tracks before breaking into more anthemic melody.   
In summary this eclectic release clearly pulls from the band’s influences and each track is distinct in its musical stylings. On first listen it doesn’t seem to fit in any particular sub-genre, but the tracks in isolation are enjoyable and many of the tracks will make it to my play list. I appreciate the dissimilarity in the vocal work between songs that keeps you interested as a listener. This album is well worth the investment of time and the band will be one that I will watch live if they travel to these shores.
“Waves” Tracklist:

  1. Fever
  2. Hypnotized
  3. Never Ending Winter
  4. Who Killed the Plan?
  5. Ghosts (feat. Lansdowne)
  6. Never Too Late (feat. Kiiara)
  7. Nevermind
  8. Afterglow
  9. Crawling in the Dark
  10. Ready For War
  11. Ghosts (Reimagined)
  12. Never Too Late (Reimagined)

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