Wavves
Wavvves


3.0
good

Review

by timbo8 USER (42 Reviews)
May 1st, 2009 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An ultra lo-fi aesthetic is both a strength and a hindrance for Wavves.

I can imagine the story of Nathan Williams, a.k.a. Wavves, as going something like this: the 20-something-year-old stoner was watching TV and smoking a joint one day alone on a couch in a San Diego basement. Bored out of his skull, the non-musician picked up a guitar and began to love the amp-frying distortion he was creating. Soon experiments in fuzzy melodic noise turned into basement demos and escalated into 2008’s Wavves and this year’s breakthrough Wavvves. In the course of little over a year, Wavves has gone from a bored idler to an indie rock curiosity awash with buzz, recently partying/performing at SXSW with Pitchfork.tv in tow.

Underneath all the hype, there lies Wavvves, 36 minutes of abrasive and discomforting noise punk with strong influences of surf rock. It’s safe to say that Wavves’s claim to fame is the ultra lo-fi aesthetic that consumes all his music. The primitive recording and production tear his riffing guitar and moaning vocals into fuzzy shreds that sound pressed up against soon-to-be-dead amps. The result is a claustrophobic atmosphere of distortion that doesn’t let up, for better or for worse.

Rather than sounding too much like a shoegazing band in blending in to its wall of sound, however, the best songs on Wavvves feature catchy snippets of surf rock and punk fury that pull away from its cramped quarters. The surfy riff of “Gun in the Sun,” the oddly anthemic “So Bored,” and the ferocious punch of “California Goths” are among the highlights in this regard. Drumming on tracks like “Sun Opens My Eyes,” “So Bored,” and the brutally grim closer “Surf Goths” further contributes to the album’s primal paranoia.

Not to diminish his songwriting chops, but it seems as though Williams mostly writes about what he knows: weed and boredom (well, perhaps goths could be included for obvious reasons). In this way, however, Wavves’s simplistic messages are genuine and pointed, from the funny sarcasm of “Gun in the Sun” (“I’m just a guy having fun in the sun”) to the disarming directness of “No Hope Kids,” perhaps the album’s best and most catchy number (“Got no car, got no money, I got nothin’ nothin’ nothin’ not at all”). As Wavves’s curious subject matters produce some solid gems, there are just as many points on the album where simplistic choruses and repetition drive songs into the ground. Forgettable tracks like “Beach Demon,” “To the Dregs,” and “Summer Goth” don’t escape the all-consuming guitar fuzz, and they basically pass by as noisy, middling affairs.

Back to the noise factor, while Wavves’s primitive recording is at once the band’s greatest asset, it is also it’s greatest weakness. Despite the album’s groundedness in downer pop melodies, periods of guitar screech, sound overload, and static fuzz make for a bit of an endurance test, even at 36 minutes. “Killr Punx, Scary Demons,” a throwaway interlude that sounds like it could have literally been Williams pounding on an organ and howling at the moon, demonstrates well the limits of Wavves’s lo-fi aesthetic and its ability to amplify the band’s unique mix of punk, surf, and noise rock.

To William’s credit, his short but impressive rise to his sudden burst of popularity has been about as D.I.Y. as it gets. But expanding on his sound with album-long focus and a harnessing of his lo-fi recording techniques are key for Wavves to have true staying power. Wavves has earned admirable and understandable comparisons to bands like No Age and Times New Viking, but for those familiar with Wavves, they absolutely know a Wavves song when they hear one. And here lies perhaps Wavves’s greatest strength and promise for future success: Nathan Williams has a sound that is undoubtedly his own.



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user ratings (189)
Chart.
3.1
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
Kiran
Emeritus
May 1st 2009


6023 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm really into the lo-fi fuzzy stuff lately so this hit the sweet spot, although the rating will probably drop.

Digging: Paul Simon - Graceland

ziroth
May 2nd 2009


1260 Comments


I heard some of this but I could barely hear any music. Way too much fuzz for me

Athom
Emeritus
May 2nd 2009


17241 Comments


i like this.

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
May 2nd 2009


865 Comments


Yeah, this was OK. Decent review, but not sure I agree with that last sentence. Perhaps if he nurtures that sound I'll hear it more clearly in the future.

timbo8
May 4th 2009


618 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

While I do feel like loud lo-fi music is an "in" thing now, I feel like Wavves sets himself apart by his extreme use of fuzz and what it does to his brand of music, especially his warped singing, and particularly his additional higher pitched vocal layer that swirls in and out of most of the album.

illmitch
June 2nd 2009


5511 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

iiiiiiiiii'm sooooooooooo boooooooored

gaslightanthem
June 2nd 2009


5209 Comments


i quite enjoyed this album

cirq
June 2nd 2009


9344 Comments


i couldnt get into this at all... could barely even hear the music, is this the new hipster trend?

Clara
June 4th 2009


10 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I like So Bored & No Hope Kids but the album is headache inducing when taken as a whole.



There seem to be a lot of bands like this around such as Blank Dogs, No Age and others but I think Wavves has the most memorable songs.

freeliminator
June 4th 2009


78 Comments


anyone that likes this shit should blow their brains out

masterofcum
June 12th 2009


428 Comments


123

Fuff24
October 25th 2009


1121 Comments


This guy is okay, but this album ain't the noise rock classic it's claimed to be.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
November 11th 2009


15610 Comments


still listen to this bitches

Satellite
December 18th 2009


25690 Comments


A friend rec'd me this. Just good, straightforward lo-fi stuff. "So Bored" rules.

PuddlesPuddles
December 18th 2009


4799 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

This is pretty baddd

TriangularDuck
July 11th 2010


90 Comments


this is a pop punk album for hipsters.

Enotron
July 11th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

What's wrong with that?

iFghtffyrdmns
May 10th 2011


7047 Comments


need to get this, I like his other two efforts.

nice review and all too

guttermoth
May 31st 2011


11 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I didn't really care for this one. It sounded very premature then it was overly hyped being called "LO-FI." It's just really bad bedroom recordings. Good Review!

slipnslide
March 29th 2013


2639 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

GOT NO CAR

GOT NO MONETTTTT

GOT NO BIRDS

GOT NO DRYCLEANING!!!!!!



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