“With the success of True Colours, the labels (and perhaps the band as well) were anxious to get another record out quickly. Enter…an album that for all intents and purposes can be viewed as True Colour’s kid brother” (ConnollyCo.com). “Because of the hurried schedule of newfound international success, the follow-up to True Colours suffered. Waiata…[is done in] a slightly darker form that often lacks the punch that made True Colours great” (Woodstra).
Incidentally, “Waiata is the Maori word for party. The album was given the Aboriginal party title, Corroboree in Australia” (Woodstra).
Despite a couple of classic singles – One Step Ahead and History Never Repeats – and a handful of other inspired tracks, the album marks the band's first lateral move” (Woodstra).
“The knock on this album is that it sounds unfinished. Walking Through the Ruins and Clumsy might have blossomed if given more time to gestate. This was, after all, a six-piece band, but Waiata doesn’t sound like it’s firing on all cylinders. Maybe it’s that the album favors subdued and moody arrangements; rather than grabbing your attention with Ships, they almost let it slip in under the radar” (ConnollyCo.com).
“Two instrumentals (both from Eddie Rayner) are included: Wail (apparently a denizen of ‘The Choral Sea’) and the stately Albert of India (which by coincidence sounds a lot like Vangelis’ theme for the Chariots of Fire movie)” (ConnollyCo.com).
“They're still hyped as ‘avant-garde.’ Probably because they mix their twitty, intermittently tuneful art-pop with Nino Rota homages and stereo effects that go back to the house of Gary Usher” (Christgau).
Also of note: “Following in the trend of True Colours, A&M issued three different colored covers for the worldwide release” (Woodstra).