Waterdeep has always been a band unafraid to embrace the 70s (notably on Everyone’s Beautiful), and making music decades behind the trends has never sounded so good – or so original. Not that others haven’t spiced up their music these days by tipping the hat to Jackson Browne, etc., but Waterdeep has been doing it long enough that it doesn’t sound like a band searching for a gimmick to latch on to.
Pink & Blue may be the best 70s album made in the last year. Waterdeep have all but shed their rock and folk and embraced what I’ve always suspected was at their core: pop. I heartily welcome it. “You’ll Be fine” has a reassuring refrain for such times as these. We all need a pat on the back sometimes. This time maybe more than others.
Waterdeep is equal parts Don and Lori Chaffer, a husband and wife duo to contend with. They have little ones at home, but where that might normally preempt creative output, it only fuels the Chaffers. Pink & Blue is touted as “An Activity Book for Grown-Ups!” (Where have I put my crayons again?) It’s a metaphor, unfortunately. (Damn.) The back cover reads: “To be perfectly honest, these are just songs trying to pass themselves off as activities.” Such silliness is respectable. Music doesn’t have to be doom and gloom and academic and clinical. It can be fun.
The album is broken up into a double EP. One disc is the “Blue CD” and one is the “Pink CD”. The Chaffers each bear considerable talent vocally and instrumentally, and so they decided why not let each other have a little space of their own? The colors are self explanatory, blue for boys, pink for girls. They are equally strong.
Even so, Waterdeep doesn’t fall into the trap of trying to make a good record that’s too rigid. They’ve done this too many times to make that mistake. Pink & Blue is equal parts frivolity and good production. Some records lack focus, some leave no room to relax. Waterdeep walks a line between the two extremes. On both discs there are afterthoughts: “Enter Magician” at 58 seconds, “Party Reprise” at 17 seconds. It breaks things up, yet they don’t seem like filler. They support the talent, tracks like “Right Before” and “Oh” which are college radio ready.