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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

WAVVES - Wavvves

[EDIT: This review is based on a very early promo copy. As it turns out, the actual release has a very different tracklist, including the new single "California Goth". I may re-review the disc, for now please take this info in consideration when reading this review.]

In less than 30 minutes, Nathan Daniel Williams (aka Wavves) takes you on a mind-bending ride through layers and layers of deep distortion and nihilistic doom on his second LP, aptly titled Wavvves. Carrying on with the recent trend of Southern California nu-punk outfits (No Age, Health, Crystal Antlers), Wavves challenges the boundaries of this exploding genre, infusing it with a twisted intellectualism that directly contradicts itself.

This shotgun of an album gets started with the disorienting ambience of instrumental prelude “Rainbow Everywhere”, a fitting opening for the controlled chaos that ensues. “Sun Opens My Eyes” follows with jangly percussion and psychedelic melodies, further accentuated by a heroin-tinged guitar solo. But the fire really gets unleashed on the rocket-fueled “Get In the Sun”, on which Williams sings…

“I’m just a boy with nothing to say,
I’m just a boy with nothing to do”

All the finer talents at work here really come together on this track. With its catchy riffs and toe-tapping sing-song delivery, the track perfectly captures the “going-nowhere” attitude and theme of the album. The same can also be said of “No Hope Kids” and “So Bored”, a pair of (not-so) timely anthems for an uninspired generation. Sure, these songs were recorded before the new hope of Obama arrived, but with all we’ve endured over the last eight years, we can surely relate.

That said, some tracks here are like experimentations gone wrong and, unfortunately, they really stand in the way of making this an amazing album. The warped and demonic “More Fur” completely lost me. Experimental is one thing, but this track goes way too far and sinks annoyingly into the background. As well, “Summer Goth 2” and “Ghost Ramp 4” sound too much like bedroom demos rather than fully realized songs.

Wavvves aims to capture the cry of a young generation at a loss for dreams and ultimately, any solid future. The album may not be a full-fledged tsunami, but it definitely grabs your attention and stays lodged in your memory. I have a feeling the big one will hit before we’ve had time to prepare.

-Scot Bowman
Originally published at

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