Wavves: King of the Beach

Music Reviews Wavves
Wavves: King of the Beach

Sunshiney irony

After their disaffected debut Wavvves, the San Diego trio fronted by Nathan Williams had a rough 2009, riddled with low-grade rock beefs and a widely publicized onstage meltdown. No one would have blamed Williams for retreating deeper into his quivering fortress of 4-track distortion. But for Wavves’ follow up, he’s come out swinging.

King of the Beach finds him communing with his inner songwriter, forgoing nihilistic static for hi-def clarity; the album is saturated with high poly-harmonies, finger-snaps and hand claps, but the Charles Atlas-invoking title communicates Wavves’ real agenda—“nyah-nyah” pop sucker-punches, sunny smiles so forced they come off as sneers, intense self-deprecation as psychic body armor. “Convertible Balloon” deploys phase-shifting synths and mad-lib couplets (“Driving around with my convertible tunes / Partying around in my invertible cocoon”) to evoke isolation. Meanwhile, on “Linus Spacehead,” Williams brags, “I’m stuck in the sky / I’m never coming down,” riffing on narcotic overindulgence and the ravages of touring. Shiny packaging aside, Williams hasn’t really changed. He’s still letting his demons run wild—this time, in Technicolor.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin