CD Review: King of the Beach [2010]

Band: Wavves
Release: 6/2010
Label: Fat Possum

1. “King of the Beach” – A+
2. “Super Soaker” – A+
3. “Linus Spacehead” – A++
4. “When Will You Come” – A-
5. “Baseball Cards” – A+
6. “Take On The World” – A
7. “Post Acid” – A
8. “Idiot” – A
9. “Green Eyes” – A-
10. “Mickey Mouse” – A-
11. “Convertible Balloon” – A-
12. “Baby Say Goodbye” – A

Comments: Ye gods, the production quality on this is fantastic. Nathan Williams goes from being a lo-fi tape hissing noise punk on his first two records as Wavves to a pop punk extraordinaire on this one. Count me in on The Impressed Club. These songs are simply warm-weather chilled out re-playable classics. For obvious reasons, Wavves does a much better job at this than any of those ’90s/early ’00s hype summer pop rock bands that birthed hit singles. Wavves is much more real. Thank God they got a nice studio to kick around and experiment. It seems like they really took advantage of that setting by trying out new sounds: a light organ and sleigh bells (reminiscent of something in between Panda Bear and Christmas music) on “When Will You Come,” snapping, more vocal samples, synths, and all around Panda Bear esque psychedelia on “Baseball Cards,” and uncontrollable laughter on “Idiot.” A song built around laughing behind someone’s back? There you go. Like I said before, I’m truly impressed that this is the same guy who recorded simple, but only sometimes really catchy tunes in his bedroom. This isn’t selling out folks. It’s exploring and expanding. It’s…surprising and unexpected. A stripped down “Mickey Mouse” would have fit in Wavves catalog fine a few years ago, but it would have had only two or three layers. The “Mickey Mouse” on here has at least six different layers and every single one of them truly makes a world of difference. “Baby Goodbye” might be really awesome live, but damn that ending is far too long. The first three minutes or so are just fantastic. This record is tied for being my favorite of the year. I really don’t see that changing much. The quality and immediate impact of these songs is currently blowing my mind, but that might be because I’m looking outside it’s 90 degrees and sunny. This kind of weather just works this sound. Good work, Wavves.

Grade: A (94)

Song Review: “Post Acid”

Band: Wavves
Label: Green Label Sound
Upcoming Album: King of the Beach [8/2010]

Comments: It’s clean and clear blah blah blah blah blah blah. Wavves has fun with this song clearly and it has a what/the/fuck-i-heard-this-in-the-1990s-on-pop-radio verse-chorus dynamic. It’s brief enough that I do get some pleasure from listening to it. It’s nice to know that this just wasn’t Nathan Williams fucking around on his computer to make this. Or was it? At any rate, it seems like quality mattered on this one. Was the band going for the 1990s pop-rock card or does it just sound that way? It’s memorable, but it fades fast.

Grade: B+