1. Home
  2. Reviews
  3. REVIEW: Microwave Continues To Expand Their Sound And Horizons On ‘Let’s Start Degeneracy’
REVIEW: Microwave Continues To Expand Their Sound And Horizons On ‘Let’s Start Degeneracy’ 7.5

REVIEW: Microwave Continues To Expand Their Sound And Horizons On ‘Let’s Start Degeneracy’


Atlanta-based alternative indie rock band Microwave have returned with their fourth full-length album, ‘Let’s Start Degeneracy’. This marks their first release since their 2019 album, ‘Death Is a Warm Blanket’. This record embarks on a departure from the grunge influenced sound from the last record, into a more indie rock and vibey kind of sound for this band throughout these ten tracks. Some tracks dive into a more familiar sound for the band, while others continue to experiment and push the envelope for this band’s sound. 

The record opens with a female sung kind of ballad, with “Portals”. This gives me some real Phoebe Bridgers vibes immediately, and it was a nice touch as I wasn’t expecting the album to start off this way. It gives this album some identity and it’s a good example of why Microwave sets themselves apart from anyone else in the scene. It feels like a fitting intro track before we dive into the rest of the record. We then continue with the third single from the record, with “Ferrari”. This was an interesting choice as a single, but I was into the song and it fits nicely as a follow up to the first track on this record. I love the vibe on this track, and the little sounds designed around this song really make this a highlight. And shoutout to the lyric, “I refuse to act on fear. No thank you, I’ve been down that road”. It ties together some of the themes of this record pretty nicely and this song and the last one are a good way to ramp up the sounds slowly but surely. We’re followed up by the first single from this record from over two years ago, with “Circling the Drain”. This one feels like a classic Microwave song, and it feels like it harkens back to this band’s sound on their 2016 album ‘Much Love’. I love the contrast between the chill verses, and it’s huge chorus. It really makes this song stand out tall in their discography as a whole, and an easy highlight from this record. The main riff of the song during the chorus and outro is a special one too. It serves as a great first single from this album too, like a re-introduction into the band after a few years and I love that. 

The energy continues with the fourth single from the record, with “Bored of Being Sad”. It’s got a little more energy than the last track throughout the whole duration of it. This one feels like it’ll be absolutely great in a live setting, with a huge chorus backed with vibey vocals during. The lyrics for this feel very inspired and hopeful, in a way that fits the vibe of this band and the way vocalist Nathan Hardy words it feels very specific to him and only him. The second chorus slowing down and ramping back up into it’s normal tempo is a great touch for this track as well. We slow down just a little bit with the second single from this record, with “Straw Hat”. I remember when this track dropped, it instantly gave me summer kind of vibes and that feeling remains two years later. It keeps that uplifting kind of vibe going on the record, and Nathan‘s delivery of the lyrics is a big part of that. The acoustic guitar in the background of this one keeps this track grounded and helps it stick out in a nice way from the rest of the record.  The synths at the end are a nice touch and shows this band can throw some weird things here and there for the benefit of the song. We reach the second side of this record with it’s title track, also abbreviated to “LSD”. This track might be the most unique song on the entire album, it mixes synth and vibey elements to fit with the band’s sound in a really cool way. It certainly lives up to it’s abbreviated title, and it feels like a great song to get high and chill to. The lyrics also fit with the album title pretty well, and I’m a little surprised this wasn’t a single since it shows off the growth of the band nicely. Shoutout to the bass on this track delivered by bassist Tyler Hill, it comes through beautifully here.

The vibe continues further with a more direct indie-rock approach, with “Omni”. This instantly gave me either Vampire Weekend or Two Door Cinema Club vibes from the jump. It’s a sound that this band does incredibly well, and I’m surprised they don’t have songs like this more often since they really shine with it. The bass shines here as well throughout the track, and it makes this song an easy favorite from the record. The lyrics dive into people running from their mistakes with religion, hoping for easy forgiveness. And it’s tied together with the final lyric, “Do you learn from your mistakes?”. It’s followed up with another out of the box track from this record, with “Strangers”. This one has a real 90’s vibe to it, and there’s a lowkey grittiness present that sets this one apart from the record in a cool way. Nathan‘s delivery here really makes this song work, as it’s so subtle and it paints an environment that feels so specific and grimy in a way. The chorus being the line “I’m ready to leave” over and over captures the theme of this track so well too. And it transitions into the next track pretty seamlessly as well. We get to the penultimate track, with “Concertito in G Major”. It’s comprised of a woman singing from afar in what seems like a shower. Similar to the first track, this is a bold choice to place as your second to last track on your album but gives this some identity to this album as a whole. And it’s a unique precursor to the final track of the album, which is the fifth single “Huperzine Dreams”. This one’s another vibey and chill kind of track, an interesting one to end the record on. I appreciate the sample of the lady singing from the last song coming back as a little callback, it fits well here too. Shoutout to the lyric, “When you lose everything, the whole world becomes your home”. It might be my favorite lyric on the album for some reason, it just sticks out beautifully. The piano in the background of this song is a nice touch as well. It’s a slow and somewhat fitting end to the album, and it’s wild how this record has you going through the motions with different sounds and vibes. 

So in conclusion, ‘Let’s Start Degeneracy’ is a unique and worthy addition to Microwave‘s discography. It shows off this band is willing to experiment and further their progression on their fourth outing. The record is less meatier than I had imagined when it came to it’s duration, so it ended quicker than I had anticipated. But the experience throughout and these songs being placed right where they belong felt right and it’s something I urge others to check out at least once. 

Check out the video for “Let’s Start Degeneracy” below. 



Reader Rating: ( 0 vote ) 0

Mathew Abraham I love movies just as much as I love music.