Album Review: Wavves—“V”

By Kalina Nedelcheva

If you want to hear what it’s like to have a hangover in your 20s, then the newly released album V by Wavves is your go-to guide. Upbeat disasters, heartaches and voices in the head, Nathan Williams has seen and experienced it all internally and externally. Three months earlier, Wavves collaborated with Cloud Nothings on No Life for Me, where a low-key breakdown with a melancholy theme was created through its lyrical and melodic aesthetic. While the subject matter is more or less the same, V is the exact opposite and not only in its execution.

Album art for V

Album art for V

The album creates chaos not only in its essence, but also in the frequently overlooked relationship between the artist and their record label. The band got into a huge dispute with their label Warner Bros. when the label threatened to sue the band for prematurely uploading their single “Way Too Much” on Soundcloud. Needless to say, it’s a hopeful thing to be assured of the uncorrupted status of Wavves within the music industry. They not only went against a corporate giant, they also defended the artistic message by refusing changes and edits be added to their music.

Songs like “Pony” and “Heavy Metal Detox” seem to speak out to the young fans of the slacker garage rock band. Wavves have taken a turn from their usual topics of drugs, boredom and the beach and concentrate on the aftermath of a night, involving bad decisions, breakups and getting smashed. The band has taken a direction, in which many of the skater punk artists have engaged in. Similarly to FIDLAR’s newly released Too, Williams undergoes a burned out tone, clearly issuing a cry for help. As he sings in the staticky rhythmic “Redlead”, he is “broken and insane”.

The misadventures in the singer’s head are happily accompanied by the band’s signature sanguine melodies, creating a contrast between what we hear and the reality of the lyrics. The no-fi tune of Williams’ heavy repetition of desperate one-liners such as “I don’t exist” on ”My Head Hurts” and “I’m getting worse” on “Heavy Metal Detox” coach the hopeless and demented soul, becoming almost mantra-like statements. It’s the angsty lyrics, more than anything else, that ensure the listener that everyone is screwed up, so it’s alright to feel this way. Singing about what’s going on in every 20 something year-old’s head, Wavves knows what you feel from first hand.

Taking into consideration the progression from King of The Beach and Afraid of Heights’ dirty and bum-ish vibe of fun to V’s manic yet hopeful tone, one really seems to wonder, where Wavves are headed next: rehab or insanity? (Warner Bros.)

Listen: “Way Too Much”


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