Waterparks – ‘Entertainment’

By Chris Hilson

Less than two years after the release of their debut album, Waterparks are back with ‘Entertainment’. Whether fair or not, second albums are often seen as those that will truly make or break a band. Certainly the release of ‘Double Dare’ in 2016 catapulted Waterparks onto more magazine covers and into more  ears than was perhaps expected.

With the hype around them showing no signs of dying down, they find themselves in an exciting but double-edged position. Do they play it safe and cater to the desires of their current fan base, or do they risk alienating those very same fans by jumping the shark and mixing things up too much?

Opening track ‘11:11’ suggests that Waterparks have opted for the former, which is not unexpected but frustrating all the same. The synth-flavoured intro feeds into a succession of verses and choruses that are ripped straight from All Time Low’s songbook, as Waterparks tick off every ingredient of a three and a half minute pop-punk song. Even if you haven’t heard it, you can pretty much guess what it sounds like.

Waterparks continue to lean heavily on their influences throughout ‘Entertainment’, to the point where you almost forget what band you’re listening to. ‘Peach (lobotomy)’ is a fine example of bright and breezy pop-rock, but it’s also very much inspired by Simple Plan, and once again the identity of Waterparks becomes an afterthought.

Also, the production on ‘Entertainment’ regularly goes into overdrive. Whilst it means that every song is coated in a glossy layer of pitch perfect effects, it completely demolishes any bite that the songs may have had. One song that wasn’t auto-tuned to death or drowned in samples is ‘Lucky People’, a typical acoustic love song that’s sickly sweet, overly twee and quickly forgettable.

Almost every song is fighting over the same musical space; as soon as one hook-filled, melodic, and youthful anthem ends, it’s replaced with another one just like it. Every generation needs its pop-punk flag-bearer, and Waterparks may go on to be this one’s, but they will need to fully realise their potential to be remembered in ten or twenty years time.

CHRIS HILSON

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