Waterparks continues to push alt-rock boundaries

Written By Kylie Thomas, Co Features/A&E Editor

Out of all the bands I’ve listened to, Waterparks is one of the most unique and their new album “Intellectual Property” is no exception. With a combination of crazy synths, a hefty dose of electric guitar, many samples, and even rapping, “Intellectual Property” released on April 14 is not to be missed. 

Waterparks is an alternative rock trio that have been pushing the boundaries of traditional alternative music by incorporating heavy pop influences. Each album that Waterparks has released has increasingly gotten more experimental all leading up to this recent release. A lot of the new sounds that the band have added is thanks to lead singer Awsten Knight. Knight carefully crafts every single song to perfectly enhance his vision. Guitar player Geoff Wigington and drummer Otto Wood help this vision with their talented instrumentals that contribute to the chaotic tracks. 

“Intellectual Property” was first introduced to fans with the release of the band’s single “Funeral Grey” last May. This was the first song to be released since the band’s last album “Greatest Hits.” The track has the addictiveness of a top 40 hit with the upbeat, cheesy vibes that most Waterparks songs carry. Knight has this way of singing that’s somewhere between screaming out and singing that truly shines in this song, especially when he sings the lyric “I know your dying wish is to be baptized in my spit.”  After this track, many other singles premiered leaving only six songs that hadn’t been released prior to the album release. Nevertheless, the album as a whole leaves fans impressed. 

There are many other tracks on “Intellectual Property” that carry that same energy as “Funeral Grey,” reminiscent of a more punk boy band. Songs like “Brainwashed,” “Self-Sabotage,” and “2 Best Friends” are so catchy due to their quick rhythms and hypnotizing vocal flow from Knight. All these tracks are easily danceable and showcase the energetic persona of Waterparks. Not to mention all the songs carry themes of love and self-doubt that anyone can relate to, making these songs even more fantastic. For instance, “Brainwashed” is about coming to the shocking realization that you’ve actually fallen for someone while “Self-Sabotage” is about being worried you’ll mess everything up with the person you like. 

Then you have songs like “Real Super Dark,” “Ritual,” “A Night Out On Earth,” and “F*ck About It” that carry a darker sound in various different ways. “Ritual” even includes deep, intense rapping verses from Knight that will make your jaw drop from the start. All these tracks also find unique ways of incorporating sound bite samples and weird, acid-trip esc synths. “Real Super Dark” uses a bunch of different sound bite samples from “Let me speak to your manager,” starting off the song, to “Otto, get in the car, get back in the car” mid-song. It’s an unusual song, chaotic song in all the best ways. I think that’s the reason Waterparks are so addictive as a band, they aren’t afraid to push boundaries and create unique pieces. 

Even though it may sound like Waterparks needs to go to extremes to make a good song, this isn’t the case at all with the ballad of the album, “Closer.” This song uses soft vocals and acoustic guitar to make a deeply heartbroken tone. It’s simple and cuts straight through the heart as Knight sings about figuring out where to go with a relationship. Like the song says, it’s about needing someone “closer” or needing it “over.” “Closer” shows how versatile the band are and prove that no matter the genre of the song they make, they’re going to make it their own. 

While this isn’t my favorite album from Waterparks, I can say that a lot of the tracks are in my favorite songs that Waterparks has made. While the themes of the album are very cohesive, even bringing religious trauma to the mix, the songs still feel disjointed as a whole. Even though the album has some shortcomings, it’s still a great listen for any fans of the band and for anyone looking for an upbeat start to their summer. Though I really encourage you to explore their entire discography if you want to get a true representation of who the band is.