Album Review: Hundred Waters – Communicating

By Maria Lubanovic, Staff Writer
[OWSLA; 2017]
Rating: 7/10

Key Tracks: “Particle”, “Firelight”, “Communicating”

Communicating is the third full-length record from Floridian indie-electronic group Hundred Waters, who have successfully blended more traditional instruments with electronic sounds, to create a unique soundscape throughout the album.

The first track, “Particle”, perfectly showcases lead vocalist Nicole Miglis’ soft-singing style, paired with bubbling production. It immediately immerses you within the album and leaves you wanting more. The instrumentals are interesting and unique, setting a precedent for the rest of the tracks.

“Wave to Anchor” continues the flowing and rhythmic feels of the album. There are sound effects through some of the instrumentals that contrast the much darker, and more piano-centered “Prison Guard”. It’s reaching towards someone to keep her surrounded and protected while wrapping Miglis’ vocals in soft, wavy synths. “Parade” showcases more piano, and is almost entirely devoid of the electronic feeling from the previous tracks; it’s only added to emphasize the piano melody.

The electronic production comes back at full force with “At Home & in my Head”. The drums and percussive piano wind the track into a more upbeat section until Miglis begs someone to “come home to me” in almost complete silence. It quickly picks back up into the upbeat instrumentals, but for the one moment, the desperation is tangible. This is one of the things that Hundred Waters does best, creating an emotion in a brief second, and then bouncing back.

One of the best tracks on the album, “Firelight”, has one of the greatest electronic synth-driven moments. It contrasts the softness of the vocals before taking the track to a complete stop before transitioning into a softer, piano-focused feeling. The electronic synth comes hammering back to finish off the last minute of the track. The variety that comes with this track is almost staggering and shows some of the best creativity the band has to offer.

“Fingers” offers more of their unique combination of electronic and piano, with bell-like tones, cascading synth and video game style pinging. The album’s title track opens with rhythmic singing and low piano before unfolding into a multilayered and creepy chant with softly screeching instrumentals. It’s unsettling in all the right ways.

“Communicating” moves directly into “Blanket Me” almost like they are the same track, but is seeking more consolation rather than crying out. The album ends with “Better,” a fitting and comforting end to the album. Miglis’s incredible vocals and piano are front and center, with an occasional interjection from a synth, until the music turns into a full instrumental section before quietly fading away.

The album is an interesting listen, rhythmically and instrumentally. Hundred Waters is very successful in creating sound schemes that are tangible to listeners. It has something for every indie/folk/electronica fan. It’s emotional and leaves you wanting more.

Listen here:

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