On 2016's Waking, the Kents sounded like the perfect distillation of Canadian indie pop. It was equal parts Arkells and Half Moon Run, radio-friendly and delivered with lots of pop energy and indie smarts. Just a year later, on their second EP Within Waves, their sound palette has grown considerably — and so have their song-writing abilities and confidence as a band.
All the pieces from Waking are still here. "Caroline (I Can't Explain)" pits chiming guitars against a dance-y rhythm section, and also features one of the band's strongest choruses. Tracks like "Is There Anyone?" and "Distant" both show a more ambitious band, complete with more intricate guitar work and production.
Their new sonic touches could've fallen flat, but the Kents show enough conviction throughout the record to sell them. They integrate them seamlessly into their songwriting, resulting in stronger, more compelling material. They sound like they're exploring the possibilities of their current sound, and digging up new gems in the process.
Singer/guitarist Warren Frank's voice sounds sharper than ever, as evidenced by his soaring vocal performances on "Is There Anyone?" and "Low Light." He's one of the band's biggest assets on the record, helping to create a more dynamic sound and giving the songs the extra push they need.
If Waking was the Kents' statement of intent, Within Waves finds them doubling down and digging deeper into their pop sound. It's the sound of a group who won't let Arkells comparisons dictate the way they write music, and one capable of forging their own voice. (Independent)