Rich Howells

SONG PREMIERE: Scranton band catches a psychedelic Great Wave under the dreamy ‘Autumn Sun’

SONG PREMIERE: Scranton band catches a psychedelic Great Wave under the dreamy ‘Autumn Sun’
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“Avant pop. Dream alt. Noise folk. Psychedelic jazz punk.”

These are some of the ways Great Wave describes their sound as it floats towards your ears and envelops you in an otherworldly atmosphere of beautiful and mysterious echoes.

Much like these ethereal sounds and their enigmatic vibes, vocalist/guitarist Charles Davis gives cryptic answers when asked about his Scranton-based project. All music is up to interpretation, though, so in this case, conversations about it can be as well.

“As representatives of the collective conscious, we’ve been creating music since the earliest rocks were banged together in rhythm,” Davis told NEPA Scene.

“Our names are Andrew, Charles, Chelsea, Gerald, and Mark – we met while exploring the basement of an elderly building in Wilkes-Barre, PA known as ‘The Church.'”

Several of those musicians were a part of Doghouse Charlie & The Buck Knife, so those who enjoyed their experimental psychedelic folk will dig this latest evolution of their journey.

“There are truly countless projects between the lot of us, as well as many others happening simultaneously, and surely more new ones on the way. Each our own drop in the ocean, we collectivize as a ‘great wave,’ Davis noted.

“On our way to a show, Andrew suggested, ‘We should call the band ‘Great Wave?’ We said ‘OK’ because we all love Andrew.”

Sometimes it’s as simple as that, even when the work itself is complex. Since “Garlic & Sage” debuted on Oct. 16, 2019, the group has consistently released a heady new single every few months, receiving coverage from various notable music blogs and magazines. Following November’s “Cosmic Bowling,” “Autumn Sun” premieres today exclusively on NEPA Scene.

“It’s reflective of change, growth, and the decisions we face in times of adversity. Inspired by the harsh and heavy seasonal changes of our great NEPA, the interpretation is otherwise relative to the listener,” he described.

“There are more singles on the way, which we plan to release as a full LP in the near future. We also have an album-specific endeavor, as well as a few other projects waiting in the wings.”

These secretive recordings emerge from private artistic spaces in both the mind and the physical world.

“We have, thus far, spent most of our time recording in ‘The Church;’ however, in more recent times, we most often find ourselves at one of our second homes – ‘The Airport,’ ‘TA,’ or otherwise meeting in the ether,” he said.

Great Wave started touring across Pennsylvania and New York just weeks after their first single hit Bandcamp, where many of their songs are available on a pay-what-you-want basis.

“By far, our favorite venues are Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan and Karl Hall in Wilkes-Barre. However, we generally decide our tours based on places we want to eat – our current two favorites are Punjabi Deli & Grocery in Manhattan and Garden of Eve in Providence, Rhode Island, plus any number of the great NEPA pizza joints.”

Soon after they released a live video from “The Airport” as an entry into NPR’s annual Tiny Desk Contest, the coronavirus pandemic turned every concert into a similar digital-only performance from afar. While COVID-19 put an end to travel, it didn’t affect this band as much as many others.

“We had planned to sign a huge record deal, tour with a famous band, turn away from it all, and fade into a life of obscurity; in a way, the pandemic pushed forward the timing of our master plan,” Davis sarcastically quipped before a moment of earnestness.

“We are all very empathetic people, so our hearts ache for all of those in pain right now. Simultaneously, we are project-oriented loners who would otherwise thrive in isolation.”

When asked about 2021, these musical hermits continued to speak in the transcendental language of their melodies, but listeners should expect no less from Great Wave.

“We consider music is a privilege. We plan to start a greenhouse where we can both better serve the community as well as live off the land; the snowball is building, regardless of whatever obstacles might stand in the way,” Davis philosophized.

“Everyone must take their own journey, so listen to that inner guiding light – the piece of your mind which descends from the supreme celestial consciousness. Open your third/fourth eye and allow the multiversal energy to flow through you. Don’t hold grudges, catch blessings, and remember there are no endings, only beginnings.”