Vocalist of the Texan three-piece Waterparks, Awsten Knight, boasted big things for Entertainment, tweeting a written note that contained the words; ‘This album is flawless. It’s perfect. It’s so good.’ Entertainment is the follow up to 2016’s Double Dare and was recorded in just weeks prior to a sold out UK headliner. The band released two teasers for the album in the form of Blonde and Lucky People, two vastly different tracks that reminded fans a lot of what they loved from Double Dare, but would the rest of Entertainment live up to fans high expectations? Would it live up to Knight’s hype?
Kicking off the album is a rather eerie intro to the track 11:11. However, as soon as it kicks in, there’s a switch into such an upbeat and energetic track. It’s pure Waterparks and perfectly placed as a way to ease you into the album. Peach (Lobotomy) is your first taste of something different with a whistle leading you into the track. It’s slightly slower but still has that cheery tone to it. It conjures thoughts of summer and long drives with your hand making waves out of the window. However the lyrics aren’t so cheery; ‘I’m sitting here hating myself for needing someone so bad and feeling dumb dumb dumb,’ it’s a perfect example of the bands affinity for writing sad songs that sound nice.
What is clear thus far is that the album is written like a love story, documenting Knights feelings whilst being in a relationship. We Need To Talk follows that suit, though it’s a little more bittersweet; ‘you shine brighter than morning, at least I thought you did,’ is just one line that sticks out. There are a lot more electronic elements throughout this album too, which is a great thing. It has always made Waterparks stand out in a genre that is rather flooded with a lot of the same sounding bands – it leaves them uncategorised, something special. It does pose the question on how this will be translated in a live setting.
Not Warriors showcases Knight’s vocals well, there are some rather low notes he hits in the verses that stand out and those rise to a point of highs within the chorus. It’s a wonderfully positive song overall and holds a sweet message; ‘Hey for what it’s worth, I think you saved my life.’ Rare is about finding someone that is one of a kind, ‘You know I think you’re rare, I wasn’t prepared,’ it’s a pure love song and a joy to listen to. There’s a slip in of two songs if you don’t miss it ‘The Phrase That Pays’ made famous by The Academy Is… and everyone knows Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’. Though probably not intentional, it was a fun little something to pick up on.
Tantrum is this album’s Little Violence. It’s quite possibly the hardest that Waterparks have sounded, with a much heavier riff, and more intense beats on behalf of drummer Otto Wood, than expected to kick it off. It’s dark and there’s a guttural tone to the vocals that is laced with such anger. ‘Maybe if I kill myself you’ll know I’m sincere,’ is just one line that exhibits how hard-hitting the track is. As a whole, Tantrum stands out because you can hear that raw emotion in the way Knight screams and announces that he has more to say. Though in Little Violence Knight sings, ‘I still think it’s dumb I need to strain when I sing,’ toward the end of the track he really does strain his voice. Though it’s not to conform or to appease but to really let out that pent up frustration he feels; ‘Now people use my friends to try to get to me, f*ck you’. It’s perfect to listen to when you have your own grievances to expel and is quite possibly the best track on the album.
It seemed like nothing could possibly meet the intensity of Tantrum but then comes Crybaby. It’s so much more somber, a full drop from how high octane the previous track is. It continues with the dark theme, keeping low throughout. The chorus is very simple, a repetitive string of ‘I don’t wanna be a crybaby’ and is almost like the aftermath or the feeling you have after being so angry about something. The two tracks are perfect together. There’s a slip of a the ever popular ‘gloom boys’ phrase that is heavily linked with the band ever since their track on Double Dare and it fits well with the heavy sadness ladened in the track.
Closing out the album is Sleep Alone, it’s quintessential Waterparks and perfect to round out the album. There’s an unexpected guitar solo that allows it to branch into that rock category that is very pleasing to the ear, it’s definitely something that people will pick up on and surely enjoy. Lyrically it’s sound, as is the whole album – it’s come so much further than Double Dare in terms of quality. Waterparks seem incapable of writing a bad song and that is something that has continued throughout all of their releases. Really, Entertainment is a solid album – in Knights own words it’s flawless, perfect, it’s so damn good and well deserved of the hype it’s been given.