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Wavves - Wavves

  by Mark Rowland

published: 8 / 6 / 2009



Wavves - Wavves
Label: Bella Union
Format: CD

intro

Loud and fuzzy melodic electronic pop, all recorded through a computer, on highly promising debut album from Wavves, the moniker for San Diego-based musician, Nathan Williams


‘Wavves’ is very much a noughties version of lo-fi – Nathan Williams recorded the whole thing through the internal mic of his laptop, into the free music software Garageband. The result is loud and fuzzy – everything, from the guitars to the vocals to the occasional synth stab, is seeped in gritty effects. The songs are fairly simple in terms of their rhythmic structure and chords, but many are densely layered, with several guitar parts forming a crunching wash of noise. Williams also has an ear for a simple, hooky melody, which somehow manage to break through the noise and reach the surface of the sound. ‘No Hope Kids’ is a prime example, managing to sound like My Bloody Valentine covering the Ramones. Again, his melodies are simple but often layered, with Williams adding sloppy harmonies and backing vocals on most of the tracks. Like Wavves best known track and album highlight ‘So Bored’, most of the tracks here seem to be about those adolescent staples, boredom, apathy and self-pity – not that it’s that easy to decipher the lyrics in the distorted fog. “I’m just someone with nothing to say/I’m just someone with nothing to do,” he appears to sing on ‘Gun in the Sun’. Demons and the Sun are also regularly referenced, both seemingly alluding to his home town of San Diego, in California – certainly the latter is a reflection of his sun-kissed surroundings. Though the sound is predominantly lo fi punk, careful listening can pull out elements of 50s and 60s surf rock, 80s goth and shoegaze, the former influences reflected in song titles such as ‘Beach Demon’, ‘California Goths’ and the even more obvious ‘Surf Goths’. An avid consumer of music, Williams’ blog is entry after entry about different bands and musical movements – their histories, sounds, their high points and low points. Though this ecclecticism isn’t immediately obvious in Williams’ thrown together sound, it is there beneath the murk. Some of the best moments are when Williams turns it down a notch. 'Weed Demon' tones down the noise and simplfies the arrangement to a single guitar. This allows his talent for melody to come to the fore through his swirling (fed through a chorus pedal), layered vocals. There are spacier, synth led instrumentals, such as ‘Goth Girls’ and ‘Killr Punx, Scary Demons’, although these are still heavily distorted. They hint at an experimentalism that is yet to be explored within the structure of his music, and will hopefully have an influence on his subsequent works. Although Wavves’ popularity is steadily increasing, it is difficult to see if Williams will turn it into a long term project, or it will burn out before he gets a chance to do another record. Either way, his current releases make for compelling, fuzz-drenched one-offs.



Track Listing:-
1 Intro Goth
2 Loser Year
3 California Goth
4 Wavves
5 Lover
6 Space Raider
7 Vermin
8 Here's to the Sun
9 Side Yr On
10 Beach Goth
11 The Boys Will Love Us
12 Spaced Raider
13 Yoked
14 Teenage Super Party



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interviews


Interview (2009)
Wavves - Interview
San Diego act Wavves began as a bedroom project before becoming a live act. They recently had to cancel a European tour after the stress and health problems of front man Nathan Williams came to a public head at the Primavera featival. A few days before the incident, he spoke to Mark Rowland


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