Halftime Leisure

Halftime Reviews: V by Wavves

October 16, 2015

Brooklyn Vegan

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Nathan Williams, lead singer of the San Diego based band Wavves, described the band’s new album: “If it’s cold outside and you listen to something that’s warm and sunny, you get that feeling from it.”  The surfer-punk band certainly delivers on this promise with their new album, V. The eleven-song album is only 31 minutes long, delivering some beachy tunes, Ramones style: fast, loud and quick. Although I would normally critique the lack of sound diversity that this album has,  an exception can be made for a well-written album dedicated to a single genre such as V.

The album kicks off with some upbeat, distortion-y, palm muted guitar. The first song is aptly named “Heavy Metal Detox,” a title that reflects the genre paradox of the band’s work: it is an interesting mix of hard guitar with somewhat droning, yet soothing, mellow vocals. The band quickly slides into one of the best tracks on the album, “Pony.” Putting the peculiar name aside for a moment, one can appreciate a sad story of unrequited love juxtaposed with upbeat backing music. While still in punk genre, the guitar work seems to draw influence from a much older generation, specifically late 80’s/early 90’s new wave influenced punk. Songs like “My Head Hurts” and “Heart Attack follow this trend in expanding to other facets of the punk genre.

Although there is some variation, it is minimal when the album is viewed as a whole.  The band’s recent work with indie, post-punk artists Cloud Nothings likely contributed to this wholly punk album; the two groups collaborated on album released less than four months ago, titled No Life for Me.  The vocal style on V mirrors the style of their collaborating artists greatly.

Ultimately, the band holds strong to those old school, surfer roots that gave them the start to their musical career.  Songs like “Tarantula” and “Redlead” almost bear resemblance to Dick Dale-style guitar and the tranquil undertones of the Beach Boys dirtied by the grungy flavor of garage rock. All in all, if you’re looking to channel that inner teenage angst with your toes in the sand, look no further than this new work by Wavves. They truly reclaim their place as “Kings of the Beach.”

Voice’s Choices: “Tarantula,” “My Head Hurts”

Michael Bergin
Mike Bergin is the former executive culture Editor for the Georgetown Voice. You can follow him on Twitter @mbergin95

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