Van Pierszalowski is not interested in any types of fakery, forgery or phony-false imitations. Van is interested in the authentic, the tangible and the valid. Van and the rest of the band Waters only attend to ‘What’s Real.’ How do I know? I listened to the latest Waters album.
Released on Vagrant Records, ‘What’s Real’ is a 35-minutes blissful experience full of immediately catchy, foot-stomping, finger-snapping sing along rock ’n roll cut from the same cloth as mid-90s alternative acts like Weezer, Fuel and Smashing Pumpkins. This album is the follow-up to last year’s 4-track EP. Three of the tunes made their way from the EP to the full length. A lot has changed from Waters’ first LP, Out in the Light, which was recorded in 2011. The band members shuffled and the music slides more indie-pop with notes of grudge. The 14-year old in me loves this music as much as the 34-year old me.
I think what builds the connection is the infinity relatable nature evident in the record. Waters is on a quest just like anyone else. A quest towards self-discovery and self-actualization. They too spend time efficiently without getting caught up in the bullcrap of life. There have been some setbacks, though. College ended and they had to move back to “Moms and Dads” just like I did during grad school. They had to find the new friends that were waiting for them on “The Avenue.” They had to deal with the “Stupid Games” of a middle school relationship until they could get “Over It” on their way towards finding “What’s Real.”
The tracks really speak to common experiences in a refreshingly, nonjudgemental way. There are no hints or illusions to arrogance or snobberies. There are no bold political leanings or elitism. What you are left with are incredibly worthwhile tracks that could be rearranged into a concept album about my life. The amazing thing is that another listener could rearrange my concept album to create their own biography as told by Waters.
Front to back, ‘What’s Real’ is a joy and an audible pleasure to my ears. The album is a sight for my sore eyes as well. The bright blue vinyl spinning with the “Listen Loud” declaration on side B is smile-inducing. My pre-order got my sleeve signed by the band in a very cool and collectible way. The album art shows a dozen white roses burning on a corner table in the foreground with rose wallpaper in the background. What does it mean? I don’t know, but it’s pretty cool.
When I saw Waters open for Nada Surf while they were supporting ‘Out in the Light,’ Van sucked the audience in with his likeability and stage presence that showed his competence as a front man. After the show, he talked music and his guitar at the merch table. Surely, I was not the only one that was unexpectantly won over. ‘What’s Real’ will undoubtedly persuade many more to admit that they are Waters AF.
Consume.Review.Repeat. rates Waters ‘What’s Real’ at 9.8 burning flower vases out of 10. This means ‘What’s Real” is the real deal.