Wavves
King of the Beach


3.5
great

Review

by AggravatedYeti USER (46 Reviews)
July 1st, 2010 | 60 replies | 7,642 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Nathan Williams returns as Wavves with a better album, a new band and as a new man...kind of.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Public meltdowns are a career killer. Very few can acquire, let alone maintain the coveted Come Back Kid title and generally, unless you happen to be Kanye West, it is always beneficial to just plain steer clear. Apparently no one took the time to tell Nathan Williams that last year but if nothing else the man has proven in his short career one simple fact: things have always been a little tricky when concerning Wavves.

Starting at his slap-dash, reverb heavy ascension to Indie Rock Du Jour circa March 2009 which quickly turned to an almost clinical nose dive following fan backlash and a short trip to Spain; it just seems like the guy never had a real chance. In spite of my optimism, and moreover my desire to give Wavves the benefit of the doubt (did you see the photos from Primavera 09? The kid looks ***ed), I cannot bypass that nagging inclination to just settle on: Nathan Williams is probably a douche. That being said, King Of The Beach his third full length release as Wavves, is more than just a collection of self-loathing fuzzy-pop tracks stuck ass deep in their own Summery nostalgia. Not to say they stray very far thematically from his previous recordings, there is still plenty of sun/drugs/surf/girls/drugs/repeat on Beach, but now everything feels less forced. Williams seems to have found an ease to himself, one that previously was non-existent, and while the tension certainly added weight to Wavves, it also betrayed him in the worst way possible. No matter how much Nathan could proclaim “I’m soooo booored,” on his debut, it couldn’t hide the powder keg beneath Wavves’ apparent brazen attitude; regardless of how hard he tried to portray himself as laissez-faire you could damn near hear Williams was breaking right from the start.

The question now posed to (or really by) Wavves is simple: why should you still care? While almost cheapened by the whole revelation that the band is, in fact, no more than a few years old and really the reason that King Of The Beach is even remotely being looked at as a heavy hitter for your upcoming release calendar is simple: the way he went out. Its not every day that a headstrong youngster, who about 6 solid months after releasing their debut EP, strolls into a foreign country invited to play at a huge festival and then proceeds to have a drug-addled personal breakdown with the accompanying band split on stage all while hurling insults (and fruit) back at the audience. *** like that leaves an impression. So much that up until a few days ago all I’d ever have had for Wavves was a few scoffs and chuckles coupled with numerous eye rolls. But once King Of The Beach is allowed to settle in, you find that Williams has since checked his ego at the door (kind of), and might just need a hug or two.

While it feels almost counter-productive to harp on Williams’ mishap in Barcelona, it is a very apparent crux for the albums regretful under dog in the sun, who you’ll never stop mentality. Not only that, but was easily the apex of the listener backlash Williams has “suffered” over the past few years, a backlash Wavves combats head on. Rather than pining to the likes of those who’d be quick to dismiss him as a one-trick, self-hating clap-trap of pseudo hipster ideals Williams digs himself deeper. But instead of just working towards making this bottomless pit, Wavves try their hardest to expand the area as well. King while not too sonically different from Wavvves in the basest sense, finds plenty of wiggle room when it comes to the experimentation. Filling out his empty slots with the remainder of The Jay Reatard band and Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast, King may sound similar, but its certainly not the same Wavves. Shots in the dark seemingly turn to gold as Williams finds his inner Tom Delonge meeting Paul McCartney on the albums opening three-track suite or the E6 infuse psychedelia of “Baseball Cards” and epic closer “Baby Say Goodbye” Hell, it has been only a year and even so his MPP vinyl is on full display when concerning “When Will You Come,” “Baseball Cards” and “Mickey Mouse,” all of which play the fine line between appreciation and aping brilliantly; Williams infusing his reverb heavy, girl-group inspired pop with a reliance on house synths and warm bass lines, it pays off in full.

King Of The Beach is being built up by its creators as something of a musical embodiment of what constitutes “Summer.” While a bit overambitious in the end, the theme is not lost with the album or misplayed by the band. It’s very apparent that Wavves have picked certain sounds that to them, pertain to summer time (Pop-punk, Brit-Pop, E6, Surf Rock, Freak Folk respectively) and are trying their damnedest to translate them into their own language. Amongst all the buzzy guitars and woozy keys Williams is still the main attraction. While it’s nothing new to hear him complain about how he “hates his music” and that “it’s all the same” or how much of an “idiot” he happens to be or how his apologies “won’t mean ***”--this time you actually believe him. The smugness is gone, somewhat, enough so that hearing him proclaim “I never wanna leave home/Everything in the back of my brain/Told me that I would be sick/When I'm out there,” on album standout “Mickey Mouse,” leans more towards the heart-wrenching than vomit-inducing.

While the reasons they have for being in this state (really, where to you go after that trip to Barcelona?), it certainly does not hurt that they do a very good job. Which is exactly what needed to happen, because Nathan Williams, who in his three or so years under the Wavves moniker, has essentially already destroyed his band, not to mention his fan base, while hitting rock bottom--he couldn’t afford another loss. While Wavves, Williams and their previous (impending?) downfalls and reemergence are all compelling arguments as to why you should pay close attention to Nathan TV, it is the album’s ability to keep itself separate from the fray that’s lent so much to its value. King Of The Beach, regardless of its fuzz, brazen outlook and apologetic undertone is still, above all things, an excellent embodiment of the season, but more importantly positions Wavves, or really Williams himself to finally earn this crown we were so quick to tear from a top his dome after only so recently placing it there.



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user ratings (363)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
AggravatedYeti
July 1st 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hey Robin.
Shut up.

album is available on iTunes a month ahead of physical release.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/king-of-the-beach/id379756358

thank you blog leaks.

robin
Emeritus
July 1st 2010



4241 Comments


awesome. hurry up and be a contributor dylan.
but also, i've never heard of wavves before this record, and also, no. i will not.

Ghostechoes
July 1st 2010



1353 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Lo-fi Blink 182.

AggravatedYeti
July 1st 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

that a real 2.5 or a Free Energy 2.5?

and holy crap Ghostechoes yes.

robin
Emeritus
July 1st 2010



4241 Comments


kinda real but then i hated vivian girls at first, too.

AggravatedYeti
July 1st 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

fair enough. I'm still surprised I liked this...at all.
also BUMP THAT FREE ENERGY.

robin
Emeritus
July 1st 2010



4241 Comments


i'm kind of surprised at you, too.

AggravatedYeti
July 1st 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've done worse things.

plane
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2010



6085 Comments


(third?)

Uh, yes? Album is okay. It doesn't reach the high points off Wavvves but thankfully never hits its low points either. Just kind of there. Should be finishing up my review soon.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2010



14986 Comments


yeah im surprised you think this doesn't "hit wavvves' high points"

would that be no hope kids and so bored or what

plane
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2010



6085 Comments


To the Dregs and No Hope Kids were pretty good. I'm not calling them great by any means (Cool Jumper is the best and only legitimately superb Wavves track) but they are catchy. Don't hate

AggravatedYeti
July 1st 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was always under the impression Wavves was a big EP, but thanks for clarification thurr Lewis.

Honestly the back end of this album bumped it from a 3. 'Green Eyes' to 'Baby Say Goodbye,' extremely derivative but they handle it with class.

also figure I'll come back to this for more than just some singles or guilt spins.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2010



14986 Comments


cool jumper is my favorite wavves track yea

plane
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2010



6085 Comments


Alex reading your comments is like I'm time traveling from 2007, this sometimes makes me uneasy

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2010



14986 Comments


does that mean i speak like you when you were in 2007 or like the sputnik general community in
2007

edit: or type, rather

plane
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2010



6085 Comments


Like me

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2010



14986 Comments


ill catch up eventually

robin
Emeritus
July 1st 2010



4241 Comments


..................

yeti the first track is really good, so you should direct me the way of wavves tracks [not this album] as good as such since i have my shuffle back =)

plane
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2010



6085 Comments


http://stereogum.com/84031/new_wavves_-_cool_jumper/mp3s/

robin
Emeritus
July 1st 2010



4241 Comments


ta! should probably enjoy that more than i do but it's harmless, i s'pose.



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