Wavves – King of the Beach

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Remember when Wavves frontman Nathan Williams broke down in Spain?  We all expected the worst from that point on, but sometimes good things will rise out of the pit of despair.  This is precisely the case with King of the Beach, the newest album from the group, which now includes members of Jay Reatard.  It’s a much more confident Williams, and in that state of mind, his songs benefit greatly.

As soon as “King of the Beach” kicks in with it’s clattering drums and Williams vocals, you can see this band is on an entirely new path.  Production value has actually been placed into the recording, giving the vocals room to actually be successful.  There’s a summery bounce to the track, and the best part is, it sort of erases the feeling of lo-fi.  Who really wants to be pigeon-holed anyways?  Certainly not this Nathan Williams.

Sonic surprises abound in this record, though that might not necessarily apply to the drum section, which does show a bit of redundancy.  But, take “Linus Spacehead,” which features a bit of “oohs” throughout, in a nice little warm pitch to boot.  Throw that in the bag with “When Will You Come” and you have a couple of tracks that show Wavves are more than just that one trick pony.  The latter track is so gentle, and something about the vocals in the pseudo-chorus is really effective.  You shouldn’t be scared of this, however, if you were a long time fan of the group, as King of the Beach still has similar stylings to offer you, just with a different twist.

“Take on the World” has that traditional jangle pop, though the calmness in the song, rather than the spastic energy is what makes this far more successful than many of the tracks on Wavvves.  You’ll also find a little bit of the lo-fi tendency in “Mickey Mouse,” which probably isn’t the strongest song on the collection, but it does show that Williams isn’t likely to stray too far off from his roots altogether.  Tie it all together with a nice bow of “Post Acid,” the quick paced lightning bolt of jangling rhythm and pounding drums, and you have a more powerful version of the band formerly known as Wavves.

It’s great to see a lot of the progression from the band, indicating that in the future, we might expect even more powerful tracks, with cleverer hooks.  “Baby Say Goodbye” is probably as close to a pop track as you’d expect to associate with Williams and his entourage, but including it shows that the whole group is pushing their boundaries.  In the future, you never know what you’ll get with this bunch of rabble-rousers, but one thing you get from King of the Beach is that Wavves is actually maturing, growing their sound right before our eyes.  If they can toss in tracks like “Green Eyes,” a personal favorite of mine, then there is no saying how far this group will go from here on out.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/09-Green-Eyes.mp3]

Download: Wavves – Green Eyes [MP3]

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