PREMIERE: Graywave – ‘Like Heaven’: surging, solo dreampop beauty

Jess Webberley, aka Graywave

GRAYWAVE is the upcoming one-woman musical project of Jess Webberley who, after being a member of various other bands, decided to strike out with her own collaboratively untainted version of what a cracking dream pop aesthetic might be. She followed her instincts; and a listen to the track we’re premiering here today, “Like Heaven”, and that will you tell her instinct was entirely right.

Previous to today she’s dropped a quartet of single track releases digitally – all of which you can find and luxuriate in over at her Bandcamp: from the chorus-laden, mid-Eighties’ dark drama of “Afternoon Escapism”, from early last year, which could almost be Xmal Deutschland; through to the raw-edged and heartsore shoegaze of “Rain”. On Facebook she lays out her one-line manifesto: “An ambient musical rejection of brutalist monotony.” We can all raise a glass to that.

It’s proper dream pop, one that hasn’t forgotten the potency of beautiful vocals and FX-(over)driven guitars; Jess is deep within the wash and rush of chime and fuzz, these two onomatopoeic qualities held in perfect balance; the harmonic sweetness of the one, the rush and distortion of the other, sat on either side of a vocal line blurred and impressionistic, as if Liz Harris of Grouper had wandered into Robin Guthrie’s studio session.

Okay, I’m a badge-wearing, banner-waving, old-skool shoegazer; but you think I speak with the forked tongue of hype? Go listen. I so don’t. It’s transportive and ecstatic.

Let’s allow Jess herself to pick up the baton and tell the story. “Like Heaven”, she says, is ” … a darker, grittier evolution of previous Graywave material.

“The song aims to put a darker spin on the dream pop vibe that Graywave is about. The lyrics aim to capture a sense of self-destruction and an urge to self-sabotage. The song is about that darker side of myself that pushes doubt and lack of self-worth to the forefront.

“I started Graywave early on in 2019. The project came about when I decided I wanted to make dream pop and was keen on the idea of doing it all myself. Having come from being in various bands, I really wanted to see what I could achieve by pursuing a solo project.

“I tend to write all Graywave material and demo it alone and will then take it to the studio to get input from a producer. I should also credit my good friend Zak Jenkins here, as he took my demo drums and made them into something incredible in the studio.”

And – as we all so much are, looking forward to 2021 – what can we expect? “The next steps for Graywave are really exciting,” says Jess.

“I have a music video planned for release very early on in 2021 as well as another single release in January.

“Next year will see the release of my debut EP, Planetary Shift, and I am so excited to share that with people – it truly feels like the beginning of a new chapter for this project.”

Follow Graywave on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; oh, and here’s a Linktree that takes you to DSPs such as Spotify and Apple, and some other Graywave-related fun bits and bobs.

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