smile, and wave is the debut EP from SAINTE, the new project of Tay Jardine. Any friends of mine will know before I even begin that We Are The In Crowd is one of my all-time favourite bands: I would regularly listen to the band’s music, recommend tracks to my friends and plug their goings on across my social media accounts. I’ve been lucky enough to meet the whole band twice and they are all kind-hearted, down to earth people who made shy kids like me feel at ease.

Clearly, I’m very passionate about Tay, Jordan, Cameron, Mike and Rob’s music, and so was overjoyed to hear that a full EP from Tay, Cameron and Mike was on its way. Sure, they made us wait for it… but is it worth that wait?

The short answer is an emphatic yes. As soon as the opening notes of Technicolor blared out of my laptop speakers last year, any fears I had that future projects would fail to live up to WATIC‘s standards were quashed. An addictive synth beat combined with simplistic but effective instrumentation pulls you in, before the opening line “fell into you like the sea, you broke my fall and you pulled me in deep” knocks you for six and pulls you into the song.

Tay’s vocals here sound as good as they ever have; it is clear that as both a lyricist and a singer she has grown and become more comfortable in her own skin since Both Sides of the Story. The powerful but controlled performance she gives in White Lies is, for me, one of the high points on the EP, with a chorus that is reminiscent of Running With the Wild Things by another of my favourite bands, Against the Current, driving the emotion home.

If You Ever Feel Alone feels like a standard call-to-arms song, but even then the SAINTE spin on this formula turns it to gold, meaning you leave smile, and wave feeling capable of anything and, more importantly, desperate for more. It serves as an excellent closer to the EP and echos the generally positive tone that is weaved throughout: that no matter what is happening, you are capable of anything.

It would be rude of me as well to not mention how strong instrumentally smile, and wave is, as to not mention the infectious hooks from Cameron’s guitar work, excellent if understated bass guitar from Mike, and powerful drum beats that really drive each and every track and ensure that Tay has the platform from which to shine.

While I could go on to discuss every song on the EP and tell you just how good each one is, this truly is an EP that needs to be heard to be loved. This fantastic first effort was well worth the wait and confusion that surrounded WATIC‘s hiatus, and promises great things for the future. While I may be biased, I find it hard to see that there will be a better debut EP this year, and the fact that both of SAINTE‘s first shows sold out in a matter of hours shows just how much of a fanbase is already in place to support this project. I got my tickets for the Manchester gig, SAINTE‘s first ever, and could not be more excited to see some of my favourite artists take on the world again.

9/10

Check out: Technicolor, White Lies, Eyes Are Open

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