Review Summary: Fun. Energetic. Insipid
Wavves’s front man Nathan Williams is a jack of all trades, if nothing else. When not squabbling with other bands over pretty differences or making sunny punk music, he can be found being drugged up and pelted with garbage on-stage. And that is exactly the same feeling one gets from listening to his new project, under the moniker Sweet Vanilla
, featuring his brother Kynan. The group feels like a side project of a man looking to experiment with new things, while in the midst of struggling with lack of ideas. And if anything, ‘vanilla’ in the band name should be a give-away.
Sure there are some groovy beats to be found here. The EP kicks off with Total Carnage
that has a slowed down vocal sample, which gives way to rhythmic percussions and base kicks. It seems to be buidling and clawing, but it stays the same and barely picks up. Next is the main highlight, the guitar strumming sample infused Suzuka 9 Hours
, with a whistle type base that is pretty damn cool. Drunk Games 95
has a dirty screeching sax sample that is infused with reverb and what seems like xylophones banging out a beat. The smooth flow drops to leave a really heavy, psychedelic fused drum banging. In many ways this seems like an accompanying piece to the Hudson Mohawke project TNGHT. But whereas that was the right way to take that grimy trap sound and make it fresh and vigorous, this EP seems dull while also sweet. It’s akin to chewing cotton candy, where its fluff and sugar make it a quick snack, but doesn’t fill you up or have the fullness to be anything more. Sidewalk Surfer
has not much, besides the a couple of drops and a yodeling sample. Just when things pick up again, with the crashed Final Zone
(with a low-based sample and 8-Bit infused beeps) you realize it’s the last track and you can’t help but lose all enthusiasm for what you did like.
Overall, there is a potential for Nathan to expand this sound and do something with it. It has the needed ambition and a discernible listener out there, but as it is now, Stay Calm
is wasted potential, with nothing much to offer except fun catchy tunes, over and over again. Think Flying Lotus if he was influence by The Beach Boys.