Wavves | Wavves

Fat Possum  (2009)
By DEVIN KING  |  March 17, 2009
2.5 2.5 Stars


The second release in seven months from San Diego pop wunderkind Wavves — Nathan Williams, to his skater bros — continues his loner's perspective on teenage California. I grew up in Texas, where (maybe you've heard) we ride horses to school and shit in outhouses, so this lyrical material is all a bit new to me: weed, beach, sun, goths, punx, girls.

Williams, who's part of the back-to-cassette movement, channels his nervy (suburban?) energy into three-chord garage-pop songs filled with overblown washes of fuzzy guitars and backed by thumping drums, maracas, and a broken synthesizer or two. His melodies, whether delivered in an affected falsetto (closer to Animal Collective than the Beach Boys) or a grumpy baritone, are simple and hummable to a fault — without the energy of the distorted cassette recording, I have a feeling the songs would be a bit too cloying.

That said, the album includes a few ambient and instrumental tracks based in the same instrumentation, and these show Williams's capabilities not only as a punk songwriter but as an investigative musician stretching to combine the instant gratification of pop with more experimental ideas. Perhaps by Wavvvvves he'll have it down.
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