Life Just Bounces don't you get worried at all. (A weblog of music and otrogenerica)

Friday, 29 May 2009

#6: Wavves – "Wavves" (Fuck It Tapes/Woodsist, 2008)

Wavves is a Californian noise-pop group consisting mainly of San Diegan Nathan Williams and completed by Ryan Ulsh when playing live (i'm not sure whether you pronounce that "waves", or to rhyme with "Chavez"). Apart from having a fucking dope taste in hip-hop (a topic which he seems to blog about more than i do these days, rather embarrassingly), Williams is most commonly to be found on the internet, getting compared to a cross between punk rock and The Beach Boys by legions of moist-undergarmented indie hacks.

You can kinda see where that description comes from, though it isn't going to survive the first 20-odd lazy journalistic iterations and, more to the point, it leaves a lot out. Personally i can't even find that much Brian Wilson (or really any surf) on Wavves, save for the surf-y titles and Williams' fondness for high-pitched woo-ooh harmonies.1 (Apparently they do like to sing about the beach, but i cannot verify this suggestion because of what seems like the sixteen different distortion pedals smothering my chance of hearing any of the words.)

The self-titled track and "Lover" best illustrate the Beach Boys/punk element, their coruscating guitars and frantic garage-rock drumming carrying swooning rushes of scuzzy melody. But on their (i'll call them "they" for the sake of argument) self-titled debut — first self-released on cassette, then reissued on vinyl by BK psyche-heads Woodsist — Wavves also mine a seam of classic noise-pop that includes the likes of Sebadoh, the Mary Chain and early-90s Sonic Yoof.

Photo by Robbie Butler; excerpted from Nathan Williams' blog @ here

Thus, "Space Raider" sounds like someone sweeping up at the end of the day in a factory that makes broken fluorescent strip lights and penny whistles. "Spaced Raider",2 meanwhile, could even be a fuzzed-up lo-fi rock descendant of The KLF's seminal Chill Out album, if all the synths had been replaced by tiers of keening, distant guitars. "Vermin" sees the band follow a calmer, more stripped-back garage-rock path a little like the respite offered by "Maps" on the first Yeah Yeah Yeahs record, and allowing Williams's tendency for space-soaked psyche tunes in the vein of Woodsist contemporaries Magic Lantern to shine through. "California Goth" even pleasingly recalls underrated Scouse perennials Clinic.

As mentioned, this lot/this guy/whatever is/are/whatever really tearing up the "blogosphere"3 at the present time (you know you've made it when you've generated your own backlash by Album #2); and while any hype gets more and more disconnected from reality the more people get involved in it, it's still gratifying that Wavves seem to have made it thus far solely by sounding like a pop band playing extremely loudly at the end of a wind tunnel during an air-raid.

You can catch Wavves @ the Paradiso on June 19, 2009, London's Luminere on June 22, or various other European spots on the surrounding days. Judging by how the tour is apparently going so far, it might be a spectacle worth witnessing for more than just their music.

— Originally writ for Amsterdam Event Guide.

1 The love of a good melody does not count as a similarity with the Beach Boys. A large amount of the world's great musical groups have used good melodies, not because the Beach Boys did it first, but because good melodies are just sort of innately... good.
2 Watch those titles, there is tricksy humour afoot. How else to explain "Intro Goth", "California Goth" and "Beach Goth"?

3 God i hate that fucking term.

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