Self-proclaimed as 'God's favourite boy band', this colourful trio from Houston, Texas is sure to be the newest obsession of fans of pop-punk and rock alike, influenced musically by the likes of Good Charlotte, My Chemical Romance, and Fall Out Boy. Featuring frontman Awsten Knight, guitarist Geoff Wigington, and drummer Otto Wood, Waterparks formed in 2011 by Knight and former member Gage Matthieu over a mutual determination to produce an experimental sound distinct from the current, hardcore-dominated Houston music scene.
After three EPs, titled Airplane Conversations (2012), Black Light (2014), and Cluster (2016); two full-length albums, titled Double Dare (2016) and Entertainment (2018); and a change in record label from Equal Vision to Hopeless, Waterparks released their groundbreaking third album, FANDOM (2019), which peaked at number two on the US Billboard Top Alternative Albums, and thirty-eight on the US Billboard 200. The album's first single, 'Turbulent', was also awarded the title of Song of the Year at the 2019 Rock Sound Awards.
Best described by Dork writer Jamie MacMillan, FANDOM is 'a depiction of a breakdown as much as a break-up, it is a peek inside the tangled mind of someone dealing with the end of a relationship, as well as negotiating a toxic social media landscape'. When discussing the inspiration behind the album, Knight responded: 'I wanted to make a record that was just very unique, a very unexpected thing where all the songs feel totally different from each other. I wanted it to feel like it's some weird kind of fucked-up sugar rush.'
...And achieved that, he did. Their diverse sounds and empowering approach to the topics of love, heartbreak, and fame, along with their colourful and energetic live performances, have seen the acceleration of Waterparks' rise to international stardom, with no signs of slowing anytime soon. Though it will likely be some time before we hear any new music from the trio, they're definitely a band worth keeping on your radar.
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Image: Waterparks, 2019.