‘Afraid Of Heights’ (Mom + Pop)
Since Wavves first crashed into view some six years back, a whole new generation of slackers with nastier weed and even-cheaper booze has been stomping away on distortion pedals to generally usurping effect. Even in the indie power-couple stakes, mainman Nathan Williams and Bethany Cosentino have become old news, due to a certain blossoming romance between DIIV’s Zachary Cole Smith and Sky Ferreira.
But rather than fade into irrelevance, ‘Afraid Of Heights’ emerges three years on from ‘King Of The Beach’ as the sound of these sun-baked ne’er-do-wells getting their shit together in some style. ‘Demon To Lean’ is the big-sounding beast they have been hankering after for a while – its distorted loud/quiet ripples of noise may sound like the resurfacing of a lost Nirvana track, but it is arguably the closest they have come to an ‘anthem’ yet. Meanwhile, the blistering beach-friendly melodies on ‘Lunge Forward’ are even brattier and snottier than Williams has ever mustered before, which is quite a mean feat.
Occasionally, the noise-pop takes a sour turn as the familiar ‘hate myself’ vibes come to fore. ‘Everything Is My Fault’ sounds like it was sicked up after a night binging on alcohol, as Williams tries to convey his problems through a series of glitchy loops and samples that are laughable. Elsewhere, ‘Paranoid’ is about as fun as the name implies, trudging along like the one original a Green Day covers band might churn out. Mostly, though, they manage to channel their self-loathing into some bummed-out tunes that are far more enjoyable than their usual ‘life sucks’ fare.
Their kings of the beach crown may have slipped a little nowadays, but Wavves still offer plenty of no-frills fun.