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Wavves – King of the Beach

I love Nathan Williams and the entire story of him being pelted at a Spanish Festival would not have been a big deal if he was allowed to grow as an artist. Here is someone that went from making albums in his basement to playing at huge festivals in Spain. Ahh, but in the 24-hour news cycle, even “Buzz Bands” can get their “You Tube Moment”. At the same time, imagine yourself playing less than 20 shows ever in your career, going across the pond and performing at a festival as big as Primavera and not falling flat on your face?


I saw Wavves last year at the most unlikely of places, Chopin Theatre, which appeared at the time to be set up for some New Age play and figured to make an extra buck by throwing a music act in there on a quiet Sunday evening. The theatre was a”Pre-Show” to his show at the Empty Bottle later that evening and also an “All-Ages” show and due to it being set up mainly for plays, Williams invited the entire crowd onstage and performed a blistering set full of energy, perfect for the youthful audience. I was also able to catch him at an abbreviated set at Pitchfork Festival last year, towing a broken arm for good measure.


King of the Beach is a cleaner sound than his second album “Wavves”, and wavers on playing around with trying to do Pre-Dookie Green Day and then starts in on the fun stuff with tracks like “When Will You Come” then goes crazy batshit psychaedelic Deerhunter meets Animal Collective at a surf shop.


For some unfortunate reason Williams has been tagged by some critics as not deserving the buzz around his band but I honestly think that people should give him a second look. It might be that the people making these statements just find that the buzz was laid on so thick by some of the internet crowd there was a need to topple Williams from the top of the mountain.


It would be easy based on his last album to just call him “Beach Punk” but Wavves somehow is able to mixing punk with kitschy sounds on such songs as “Baseball Cards” that keeps you off guard.


If “Idiot” is by the book, “Green Eyes” explores more sonic textures and losing the voice effects that were predominant on his last album, should make his album a core part of the “Teen Angst” crowd.


Songs like ‘Mickey Mouse’ explore his genius. The song is pop bliss and the reason that I listen to music to begin with. It contains loops with that classic 60’s pop sound that makes it feel fresh and alive.

Comparing his work to a band like Sleigh Bells, my only feeling is that Williams doesn’t feel fake (Sorry, the more that I hear Sleigh Bells they just seem to be trying to reproduce the Pussycat Dolls).


Williams ends the album with “Baby Say Goodbye” which gives some indication of his full musical abilities. Part punk, part lo fi exploration, it’s a fitting end to this album.




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