Tag Archives: Wave Pictures

Wave Pictures, Portland Arms, Cambridge, 24 October 2022

Cambridge six-piece Tape Runs Out opened the show; they are a complex ensemble performing on the edges of many genres to produce a satisfying hybrid sound. Driven by the unique tones of hammered dulcimer and violin enhancing the restrained backline and the atmospheric vocals they previewed several new tracks due to be released early next year.

Indie pop-rock favourites The Wave Pictures always receive a warm welcome in Cambridge, returning tonight to showcase their 2022 release ‘When The Purple Emperor Spreads His Wings’. This is a concept-ish collection built around an album side for each of the four seasons and gives the trio extra scope to spread their fine sounds.

Beginning with older gems ‘Roosevelt Sykes’, ‘Spaghetti’ and ‘Pea Green Coat’ demonstrating the varied styles of the band repertoire, the newer songs then slotted in comfortably to form a hugely enjoyable setlist. David Tattersall’s serene guitar playing beguiles as Franic Rozycki and Jonny Helm mesh bass and drums together seamlessly, especially for the addictive delights of ‘Pool Hall’, ‘Strange Fruit for David’, and ‘I Love You Like a Madman’.

A fantastic show, hopefully they will be back soon…




Wave Pictures, Portland Arms, Cambridge, 24 January 2019

A triumphant return to a sold out Portland Arms for the Wave Pictures.
The opening act Pony Collaboration first played with the headliners in 2007 so a reunion was long overdue. The six-piece perform heartfelt, emotionally self-deprecating songs, many from their new album ‘Everything Was Ages Ago’. Occupying similar musical territory to The Smittens from the USA and Cambridge’s own Model Village this ensemble make a great sound, driven by acoustic guitar, organ and virtuoso percussion.

The Wave Pictures
have such a massive back catalogue, every show is different in setlist and subtle variation of overall tone. Tonight opening with the loose polyrhythms of ‘Roosevelt Sykes’ there was a rockier sound in ‘House By The Beach’, ‘The Running Man’ and chart hit ‘Pea Green Coat’.
New songs ‘Hazey Moon’ and ‘Close Your Eyes Mike’ with its inviting imagery of ‘…alligators stirring in the soft white street…’ fit neatly into the set and Jonny Helm steps up from the drum kit to deliver an impassioned vocal on the slow ‘Sleepy Eye’ and ‘Now You Are Pregnant’, accompanied by the most delicate guitar and bass.

The triumvirate of ‘Pool Hall’, ‘Spaghetti’ and ‘Stay Here And Take Care Of The Chickens’, each with gradually increasing bass solo prominence from Franic Rozycki provides a peak near the end of the set. Through it all shines the majestic guitar intricacies of Dave Tattersall, effortlessly integrating solos, chords, riffs and impossible tricks into his playing. He is a versatile singer too and with some absurdist links between songs and a beguiling vocal performance on the mellow groove of ‘The Red Suitcase’, he bonds easily with the audience of believers and recent converts to this brilliant and much-loved band.

Rare rocker ‘Canvey Island Baby’ made a surprise appearance at the end, then the unrelenting drive of ‘The Woods’ was an excellent encore leaving us all wanting more but knowing we could wait until the next time they visit…


Wave Pictures, Storey’s Field Centre, Cambridge, 23 June 2018

A show in Cambridge’s newest venue; a multi-purpose performance centre for the new community of Eddington on the edge of the city.
Ian Jeffs is a local singer/songwriter and is now performing with an as yet unnamed backing band. He has an amiable personality which the crowd soon warms to, along with a lived-in voice and thoughtful lyrics. The slower numbers featured his own acoustic guitar with some echoing electric stylings a bit like classic ‘One World’ John Martyn. Second song ‘Higher’ appropriately enough drifted up into the distant elevated ceiling of this unusual cuboid venue, which must flood with light when used in the daytime. ‘Warm Blooded’ was rockier while ‘Talking To MH’ built up from some subtle acoustic picking to a haunting hookline. ‘Last Days At The Farm’ is the signature track, its descriptive words brought to life by his powerful vocals.

With no preamble Dave Tattersall started off with oldie country-folkster ‘Sweetheart’ and as the rest of the Wave Pictures joined in we knew that as always the next hour would be a treat. Second song ‘Remains’ was one of the highlights of their rare vinyl-only album ‘A Season In Hull’, the following sugar-themed uptempo jive I hope is on the next LP and when Franic Rozycki does the familiar slide down the neck of his bass it has to be the majestic ‘Pool Hall’. The first quartet of songs sat together perfectly and represented as good a short summation of the band as you could expect to hear.

Having only been released for a day the new ‘Brushes With Happiness’ LP is a concoction still to savour properly but it is very much a mellow, late night delicacy. ‘Volcano’ is steady, sparse and emotive and as the rest of the new collection it has a distant lyrical melancholia. These new songs describe a world of random discarded objects, burnt matches and rain through window panes; viewed with a similar detachment to the narrator in much earlier song ‘Beer In The Breakers’. Best of the newbies is ‘Laces’ (‘…i’m glad you never tried to change me..you never even asked me to stay…’).

It was no surprise when Jonny Helm stepped out from behind the kit for his customary solo vocal, but I didn’t expect a cover of Van Morrison’s ‘And It Stoned Me’, sung without microphone (there seemed to be some issues with mics and monitors that didn’t get fully resolved) and given the subtlest of guitar and bass accompaniment.

‘The Running Man’ closed the main set then the unrelenting nightmare tale of ‘The Woods’ and finally Dave ditched the microphone for newie ‘The Red Suitcase’ drifting away slowly and ‘..waving to the waves……‘.


Wave Pictures, Esquires, Bedford, 15 March 2018

In their many years of extensive touring, the Wave Pictures had never played in Bedford, historic home town of John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress. It was also new territory for Cambridge’s Mammoth Penguins, the opening act in Bedford Esquires; ‘one of the UK’s most beloved independent small music venues’.
Tracks from their superb debut LP (‘Cries At The Movies’, ‘Propped Up’ and the matchless ‘Strength In My Legs’) were mixed with songs from their new concept album where a person’s disappearance is described from the viewpoint of all the affected parties. As a power trio they produce a bold balanced live sound, with plenty of space for instrumental nuance and the subtleties of Emma Kupa’s sharp lyrics.

The Wave Pictures have a core of adoring fans and gather new converts whenever they come to town; their reputation for hard work is reflected in the news that they have two new albums out this year in June and October. This productivity rate results in a vast back catalogue and tonight’s show mines gems from this rich seam including the opener ‘Little Surprise’ and fan-favourite ‘Spaghetti’.

If you have never seen them before prepare to be impressed by the relaxed but confident musical interplay between the trio, the quality of the songs and of course the guitar playing intricacies from unassuming frontman Dave Tattersall unleashed early on in ‘Lisbon’ and especially later in ‘Tiny Craters In The Sand’.

Jonny Helm steps out from behind the drums for the affecting ‘Sleepy Eyes’ and Franic Rozycki constantly develops bass lines that mesh perfectly around each rhythm, as the style ranges between the rock blast of ‘Pea Green Coat’, the slower blues grind of ‘H.D Rider’ with new companion piece ‘House On the Beach’ and the effortless shuffling groove of ‘Before This Day’.

One of the only bands you will see who can take requests and instantly play them, we were treated to ‘Stay Here And Take Care Of The Chickens’ and an encore cover of the brooding blues ‘Green River’. The final song in the main set was the pensive ‘Like Smoke’, drifting upwards into the rafters and fading away into just the vocal refrain, as we all wondered when we could join them for the next show (It is Cambridge on June 23rd…!!)


Wave Pictures : A Season In Hull, LP released February 2016

Something special from the Wave Pictures, a vinyl-only album recorded around one microphone in one day with all-new songs. Despite this back to basics technique as far as I can tell the sound quality/mix/balance etc seems to be absolutely fine (so why do most bands spend ‘months’ in the studio?).

Lyricist David Tattersall is on top form, the low-key instrumentation of finger-picking guitar, acoustic bass and percussion lending a poignancy to his lovelorn tales, cryptic references and imagery. Highlights include ‘Remains’ (‘a whooper swan fashioning his neck into a noose…’), ‘The Pharmacy’ where never has the ‘soft green light of the pharmacy cross’ sounded so nostalgic and the bitterness of ‘Hot Rain Riding On The Salt Lake’ with gems such as ‘You hung me upside down on a meat-hook..‘ and ‘you ripped the last page out of every book in town..’

In the subtle ‘Thin Lizzy Live And Dangerous’ that raucous masterpiece is playing in the loft as a tongue-tied love is declared.
One of the best tracks is the playful and addictive ‘David In A Field Of Pumpkins’. While crawling around amongst the orange gourds David sings a daydreaming speculation of ‘if I could fly straight over the town I would knock upon your window…’ ; somehow it all makes perfect sense.

They are playing many of these songs live on the current tour and they slot perfectly in with older favourites. With another new album due later this year the brilliant Wave Pictures go from strength to strength.


Wave Pictures, Portland Arms, Cambridge,17 February 2016

Singer/guitarist B-Sydes (the performing name of Ben Sydes) opened the show playing tracks from his debut long-player ‘Constant Fictions’. On the album (check out the cover artwork?) a full band give more of a variety of aural textures, but with his solo guitar and intense vocals he convincingly expresses some heartfelt emotional lyrics. He has folk influences but the rockier rhythms come through strongly and there was a positive audience reaction.

The Wave Pictures are one of my favourite bands, so I was very pleased to see them here playing again to a sold-out Portland Arms. The core of Dave Tattersall on guitar and vocals, Franic Rozycki on bass and Jonny Helm on drums were augmented with well-judged percussion from guest Dave Beauchamp and they were promoting their newly released vinyl only (no download/CD!) ‘A Season In Hull’, recorded in one day around one microphone…

There were a few of these new songs featured, sounding promising on first hearing but we also had a selection across nearly all of their extensive back catalogue. Their sound is uncluttered, no effects pedals for guitar and bass and Dave Tattersall’s lyrics draw you into a personal world of memories, wry observations, wistful longings and regrets.

All three members have their turn in the spotlight, sliding bass breaks, pounding drum solos and the dynamic yet relaxed guitar lines which anchors it all. They can rock out; ‘Pea Green Coat’ is polite-ish punk, ‘Give Me A Second Chance’ is pleading desperation over rock-solid drums and bass. ‘Cassius Clay’ and ‘Now You Are Pregnant’ are quieter tracks with an extra emotional punch to the lyrics.

And who can resist the tempting delights of ‘Friday Night In Loughborough’??

The band can easily move into cross-cultural rhythmic and dance styles, such as ‘Blink Back A Tear’ and the tour-de-force nostalgia rush of ‘Before This Day’. And much much more.

It was a stunning show, go and see them…


Wave Pictures, released February 2015

A track by track review of Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon, the sixth studio album from Indie trio The Wave Pictures. I am a big fan of the 2013 double album ‘City Forgiveness’ and after a few listens and seeing them live this one is different, but right up there too.

1. Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon. What a great opener, driving bass and drums, surreal and evocative lyric, imagine driving through the desert at night. This track features rhythm guitar from cult artist Billy Childish, the main collaborator and co-writer on this album.
2. I Could Hear The Telephone(3 Floors Above Me). This was the first song played when I saw the band recently, now released as a single. This track highlights the trademark guitar of Dave Tattersall along with some Beatle-esque flourishes and words of minor domestic paranoia. It works its way into your head and stays there.
3. Katie. A solid bass riff from Franic Rozycki, generally a bit heavier and intense, relieved with a bit of glockenspiel. Another two animals in the lyrics, there are a lot on this album…
4. At Dusk You Took Down The Blinds. The title says it all, a quiet love song, gradually turning in on itself. Sparse guitar and light drumming, very effective.
5. All The Birds Lined Up Dot Dot Dot. A rolling bass and guitar and interlocking drum patterns from Jonny Helm. Again the lyric has a feel of (gently) impending doom.
6. Frogs Sing Loudly In The Ditches. Followed by ‘…dragonflies hover overhead’, a title inspired by a mild warning sign at a country hotel! A bit of Half Man Half Biscuit sentiment creeping in here lyrically and plenty going on musically.
7. Sinister Purpose. The first of two cover versions of Creedence Clearwater Revival songs, a rocky edge to this one.
8. Green River. More bluesy this time, with lots of harmonica added to the mood.
9. Fake Fox Fur Pillowcase. Another catchy original, one of my favourites featuring personal insecurities described over big chords and hefty bass and drums.
10. The Fire Alarm. A similar pounding feel to this track, with nightmarish images of nature and instead of the phone ringing it is now the fire-alarm that disturbs.
11. The Goldfish. A superb showcase for the bass, a strong chorus and the singer again mildly tortured, this time by a deserted room and a disquieting fish.
12. We Fell Asleep In The Blue Tent. Juju Claudius adds contrasting backing vocals to this intricate tale of growing up. A summery and nostalgic set of images.
13. Pea Green Coat. The first single from the album, harmonica and sharp chords give it a Wilko Johnson vibe and make the garment in the title sound as cool as it could possibly be.


Wave Pictures, Portland Arms, Cambridge, 4 February 2015

Another strong line-up for a sold out evening at The Portland, starting with Ben Garnet, otherwise known as The Organ Grinder’s Monkey, a regular in Cambridge (and on this site) with his guitar/random sounds/voice/laptop combination. A large audience was already in the venue, reacting well to the electronica, triggered effects and manipulated vocals of hours of painstaking studio crafting being let loose to run free in the live performance. Older songs ‘Testing the Theory…’ and ‘See This Through’ sound as good as ever as does the heavy bass and denser instrumentation of new track ‘False Economy’. Apparently new experiments in stereo are pushing the capacity of the laptop (Bill) beyond its limits but it looks like this creative partnership will run and run.

Five piece Cambridge band Violet Woods are featured elsewhere on this site and it was good to see that their live versions of tracks from the debut album have grown in stature. It was a nicely paced set, contrasting the dark mysteries of ‘Electric Fascination’ with the simpler pastoral pleasures of ‘Here’ and ‘Driftwood Royalty’. The band musically blends moody 12-string electric guitar with bold retro organ notes as second guitar, bass and drums all make a major contribution. The finale of the album and live set is ‘The River’ an epic track with a haunting vocal from Xavier Watkins, then eventually all the instruments break loose, with feedback and the drum kit flayed until it sounds like it is being thrown down the stairs…

The Wave Pictures are a likeable and unassuming trio, their sparse tight sound and onstage interplay creates a captivating and engrossing show. Having formed in 1998, they have recorded many albums as themselves or collaborations with a variety of performers, also they have covered songs by cult outsider American singer Daniel Johnston.
Complex lyrics featuring relationships, domestic trivia, assorted wildlife and name checks of Johnny Cash, Tracey Emin and The Real Slim Shady(!) are delivered mainly by guitarist Dave Tattersall with drummer Jonny Helm leading on some songs. Along with bassist Franic Rozycki the band are accomplished musicians, their trademark indie rock is clear sounding and intricate guitar solos interspersed with busy basslines and solid drums.
There are also departures in musical styles, the polyrhythmic shuffle of ‘Before This Day’ was an early highlight. At times I was reminded of the minimal relaxed sound and lyrical concerns of Jonathan Richman, another live performer with the ability to have the audience losing themselves in his unique musical world. Soon to be released album Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon featured strongly, then the show ended with requests, all warmly received by the very attentive audience.