The Sighs “Wait On Another day”

The Sighs - Another day
14. April 2020
The Sighs
Omad Records
Number of discs: 1

Tom Borawski (drums) / Matt Cullen (lead guitar, vocals) / Robert LaRoche (lead vocals, guitar) / Tommy Pluta (bass, vocals)

More than two decades after releasing their last album, The Sighs return with a third full-length that brings a brand-new vitality to their harmony-drenched guitar driven-pop. Once destined to be a lost record, Wait on Another Day finds the Massachusetts-bred band drawing from an unearthed batch of demos and dreaming up a fresh sound that’s hook-heavy and full of heart.

The Sighs’ first release since 1996’s Different, Wait on Another Day came to life after Cullen stumbled upon a box of analog tapes recorded at their old band house back in the ’90s. Once Cullen had shared the demos with his bandmates and their longtime producer John DeNicola (an Academy Award winner known for co-writing “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”), The Sighs decided to meet up in DeNicola’s barn studio in Upstate New York and revisit a handful of the tracks.

“We went into the studio thinking we’d only do a few songs, but it all came together so well and we were having such a great time, we ended up making a whole album,” says Borawski. “It really just took on a life of its own.”

As heard on each cut from Wait on Another Day, that spontaneity brought a kinetic power to the recording process—an effect that’s intensified by The Sighs’ unwavering chemistry. “All the years of playing together left a permanent mark on us,” says LaRoche. “It wasn’t too difficult to tap into our musical and personal bond again.” The band recorded live during their five-day session, channeling the raw energy that made them a must-see act throughout the ’80s and ’90s. “Everything had more of a spark to it than when we made What Goes On, where we put all the songs under a microscope and tried to get it all completely perfect,” notes Borawski, referring to The Sighs’ 1992 debut release for Charisma/Virgin.

Throughout Wait on Another Day, The Sighs explore what Pluta calls “the same things we’ve written about in the past: girls and getting kicked around, hopes and dreams and falling in love.” While Cullen’s intricate guitar work and LaRoche’s warm vocal performance deepen the album’s melancholy mood, the band’s powerful rhythms and indelible melodies ultimately brighten each track. Proving the scope and nuance of The Sighs’ songwriting, Wait on Another Day delivers the hypnotic guitar lines and psychedelic tones of “Words of Love,” the swinging tempo and sunny melody of “Summertime Roses,” and the heavy riffs and savage drumming of “Socialite” (a song about “a brief romance with a girl from a higher social class than I,” according to LaRoche). Another standout, the finely textured, sitar-enhanced “Love from Lisa” recalls Revolver-era Beatles (“We all grew up Beatles freaks, and there’s really no denying that on this record,” Cullen points out). And on the title track to Wait on Another Day—a serenade to “a lovely gal with a thick Boston accent,” says LaRoche—The Sighs offer up a wistful piece of alt-pop that’s undeniably classic.

Formed in Western Massachusetts in 1982, The Sighs began with LaRoche and Pluta—two lifelong musicians who bonded over their mutual love of harmony-driven acts like The Beach Boys, and soon learned that their own voices blended together beautifully. Later adding Borawski and Cullen to the lineup, they quickly made their name as an unforgettable live band. “One luxury of living in Western Mass is that we played all the colleges and clubs for years and years,” says Pluta. “By the time things started happening for us we were primed for it—we sounded really tight and everything was just spot-on.” After crossing paths with DeNicola and his production partner Tommy Allen at New York City’s China Club, The Sighs signed with Charisma/Virgin, released What Goes On to critical acclaim, and toured with such artists as the Gin Blossoms and Dada.

Following the release of Different, each of The Sighs started to strike out in his own direction: LaRoche became lead guitarist and co-writer for singer Patricia Vonne, Cullen worked as a studio musician and touring guitarist for artists like Lloyd Cole, Pluta co-founded active-rock band Mary’s First, and Borawski drummed for the Northampton-based Angry Johnny and The Killbillies. But despite going their separate ways, the band kept in close touch and gradually began playing hometown reunion shows each year at Thanksgiving. “We were each other’s family for years,” says Cullen. “I’ve played with a lot of different people since then, but there’s really nothing like playing with guys who you’ve known for decades.”

With their connection rooted in a pure passion for music, Wait on Another Day promises to thrill The Sighs’ longtime following and the crop of new fans who’ve discovered the band online in recent years. It’s exactly that passion that makes each of the album’s long-buried tracks somehow feel truly timeless. “These new songs were already pretty well-ingrained in us, but at the same time they all felt fresh and new—like we were just playing them for the first time today,” says Pluta. “In a lot of ways it’s like we never put it down, and I think you can really feel that in the music.”

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