[one_half last=”no”]

NBHAP Rating: 4/5


[one_half last=”yes”]Wavves

Release-Date: 02.10.2015
Label: Ghost Ramp

01. Heavy Metal Detox
02. Way Too Much
03. Pony
04. All The Same
05. My Head Hurts
06. Redlead
07. Heart Attack
08. Flamezsez
09. Wait
10. Tarantula
11. Cry Baby



The Long Road

It took a long time for Nathan Williams, and his band WAVVES, to get any respect. His early scrappy bedroom recordings (released as the Wavves and Wavvves EPs) quickly gained him some blog buzz, but cynical derision quickly followed as his critics painted him as a snotty brat with nothing more than a talent for scuzz and about three guitar riffs. His public profile as a skateboarding stoner who looked like he’d fall apart if he ever had the misfortune to step outside California didn’t help. But importantly, Williams had the songs to earn respect the hard way, and eventually he got it. His last LP Afraid Of Heights racked up the good reviews, and now it’s time to see if he can continue his streak on new album V.

Nihilist Pop

And on the first few listens, it’s clear that Williams has stuck pretty faithfully to the cleaner sound he’s been pursuing on recent outings. V is loaded with nihilist indie-rock, from Way Too Much‘s combination of shuddering guitars and lines like “I’m sinking into nothing” to building a middle-eight around an echoing cry of “useless…” on Heart Attack. Flamezesz is a classic WAVVES single, an utterly restless guitar-rock track that bounces through a heap of ideas and melodies in its 2:26 run time. And Pony‘s driving rhythm suggests that Williams has been listening to DIIV recently.


Opening track Heavy Metal Detox sets the pattern for the album remarkably well. It opens up with bright, bouncy guitar lines and cartoon synths, and sounds like a peppy indie track, but when Williams’ vocal kicks in he tells us that “I’m not doing anything today”. Later on in the song we’re told “having fun when I’m alone, I don’t have to put on a show” and “ I can’t pretend it’s all a dream”. And this has generally been Williams’ m.o. as WAVVES, to juxtapose sparky melodies with his depressive, stoned persona, right from the early days when he sang “got no friends, got no family, just a bunch of people who all do better than me” on No Hope Kids. On V he uses that formula to hit his targets much more sweetly than on previous album Afraid of Heights, which often dipped into darkness and misery for too long for its own good. V is the closest Williams has gotten yet to fully expressing what he wants to, and is a pretty slick album on its own merits too.

WAVVES‘ main trick has always been to combine gloomy lyrics with summery melodies, and Nathan Williams pulls that off on V more effectively than ever.