Wavves is the solo project of San Diego's Nathan Daniel WIlliams and that's the simple part. This is his second full length release, the first came out earlier this year and was self titled and featured the song Wavves, which was one of the best songs on the album. Both records have as their cover image, a faded photograph of a kid on a skateboard in his backyard and both will fix your head in a homemade vice but you'll love every minute of it.
Much like its front cover which features a kid attempting a drop-in off a wheelbarrow in the 70's, the debut record was pumped full of hazy nostalgia, disaffected youth rebellion, boyish reverie and was all churned out with the same DIY scuzz that you'd expect from a wheelbarrow drop-in. This follow-up features a more zoomed in shot of the same kid but this time he's found an actual ramp and it's possible to see a link between these two visual differences. They both thrash uncontrollably between slacker-punk and twisted surf-rock, they're both shrouded in red-line production and they're both pretty damn gnarly but this followup is more focused, more fluid and much like the difference between a wheelbarrow and a ramp when it comes to skateboarding this one is way more fun.
He's got himself a drummer on this new record and it makes a big difference. Together they scoop up the sticky floor-muck that is left behind after your average punk gig and recycle it back into music. Incorporating elements of Sonic Youth, Nirvana, the Beach Boys and contemporaries like No Age and Sic Alps, Williams masterfully evokes every musical and social teenage experience I can remember and filters it all through claustrophobic production. The two most obvious central anthems are So Bored and No Hope Kids. Both illustrate Williams' knack for crafting perfect pop hooks and melodies and then burying it all under a ton of feedback and general punk noise. They clatter around as if directionless but even in their most abrasive spells the pop element is always adhered to. I use that word 'Pop' with some pretty heavy inverted commas around it, but in this context it represents direction, be that melody or rhythm. Everything possible is done to submerge this element but it ends up carrying most of these songs to their successful conclusion.
To sum up, may I use the Paris Hilton vernacular and call Wavves my NFB (New Favorite Band) This title has been awarded for some pretty base level reasons. Williams makes proper punk rock that while doused in the contemporary trend of red-line production hollers with teenage nostalgic abandon and instantly takes me back to sunny days spent hating the world and dropping-in off wheelbarrows. Good times.
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