Album review: Wavves - 'Wavvves'
Winningly scuzzy no-fi slacker
Skating, surfing, smoking pot, getting blown out by cute goth girls, occasionally blogging about gangsta rap. Such is the life of wryly stereotypical SoCal slacker Nathan Daniel Williams as captured on his second Wavves album in less than a year. Slapdash isn’t the word: Wavves’ don’t-give-a-fuck production values make No Age sound like Fleetwood Mac.
When you can make them out through the ever-present blanket of cheap distortion, lyrics are seemingly assembled by rearranging the words “summer”, “weed”, “goth” and “kids” in random orders. But that’s the whole point, dumbass. ‘Wavvves’ is snotty bedroom fuzz pop in excelsis.
As perfect distillations of teenage ennui, ‘So Bored’ and ‘No Hope Kids’ grab you by the throat as effectively as anything by the Ramones, fusing the nihilism of LA punk with the stunted sweetness of Beat Happening. But Williams also slings the dreamy harmonies of ‘Weed Demon’ and the catatonic synth meandering of ‘Goth Girls’ into the mix so that the overall effect recalls the low-rent lucky dip of early lo-fi Beck and Pavement albums, or a 10th-generation copy of a compilation taped off a Spike Jonze skate video circa 1989.
There are plenty of songs here you won’t want to listen to more than once, but plenty that’ll also lodge in your skull like fragments of glass from a smashed Coke bottle. Like Wavves cares, anyway. He’s already onto the next album, or telling you about other great records by his similarly-inclined mates, such as Woods, Blank Dogs or Crocodiles. Get a skateboard, get a goth girlfriend who hates you, get stoned and listen to Wavves: it’s the sound of the bummer.