Monday, 2 August 2010
Wavves - King Of The Beach (Bella Union)
Since unexpectedly acquiring a Sunday ticket for the Reading festival, I’ve been unashamedly predisposed to the kind of music that takes me back to simpler times when having Cheshire Cat on your Sony Discman earned you a place amongst the coolest kids in Year 10. King Of The Beach, the latest album from San Diegan lo-fi act Wavves, might not be the most obvious place to look for such playlist fodder, but I was surprised to discover a marked departure from the thirty minute headache that comprised Wavves’ sophomore effort to a sound that owes more than a casual nod to bands like Blink 182 and Green Day in their bratty juvenilia. The title track and Post Acid in particular, with their simple, energetic drums and instantly memorable refrains, revive that unapologetic pop-punk sensibility and restored my faith in the impact of four well-chosen power chords. Who knew that behind all the scuzzy posturing of Wavves’ previous releases beat the heart of a pop songwriter with a knack for a really catchy chorus? Maybe it’s the refined production but King Of The Beach reveals potential within Nathan Williams’ insolent drawl and unexpected new directions for the band that the likes of So Bored would never have let on about. It’s no masterpiece, but from the psychedelic sixties wails on slowies like Linus Spacehead and When Will You Come to the controlled melody and sneering vocals on Convertible Balloon, King Of The Beach contains impressive diversity.
Wavves’ shoe-shower at the Primavera Sound Festival last year has become something of an internet fable, and the incident could perhaps account for the Williams’ lyrically-documented self-loathing that seems to pervade the album. On Take On The World, he’s succinct: “I hate myself, man”; later, on Green Eyes, he elaborates, cataloguing how he’s “a fool,” “an idiot”, and describing how, “my own friends, they hate my guts.” By the end of the album, the sentiment gets rather annoying. Perhaps it’s because, much less than the product of a year of tortured soul-searching, the lyrics are delivered with that unmistakable arrogance that got him into all that trouble in the first place. What’s with the weird cat pictures, too, on the cover of both his and girlfriend’s band Best Coast’s albums? It all feels like some kind of ironic private joke that I’m not cool enough to understand. To summarise: King Of The Beach encapsulates all the highs and lows of high-school emotion. Williams’ most accessible work to date, the album will undoubtedly yield much more mainstream success.
Words : Tegan Rogers