Album: King of the Beach
Release Date: August 3, 2010
I’ve made it a habit lately to scrutinize and reflect on titles to music albums. The name of Wavves’ new one, King of the Beach, feels about right.
King of the Beach is a breezy, outdoors-only punk album that happens to be one of the summer’s best soundtracks for a day on the shore. It works even better than something like, say, The Gaslight Anthem’s American Slang. That album doesn’t hold much of a candle to Wavves’ orchestration, incessant wailing and, best of all, its ’60s-era vibe.
To me, Wavves sounds like a cross between Oasis and Violent Femmes, with frontman Nathan Williams’ vocals sharing striking similarities to Oasis’ Liam Gallagher and the album’s orchestration (and, especially, it’s tempo) sounding like the Violent Femmes. There’s maybe some Green Day in there, too.
Though the disc begins with quick, rapid-fire tracks that call attention to themselves for being loud and pretty unrelenting, there’s a noticeable shift about midway through. It’s as if the rockers kicked out the jams to get the record off the ground before settling in for softer, yet grungy Beach Boys-like tunes.
Speaking of the Beach Boys, what I can appreciate about Wavves is their nod to the classics. I’m all but certain Wavves sampled the opening to The Crystals’ 1963 hit, “Da Doo Run Run,” in “Mickey Mouse.” If not, they replicated it perfectly. I also enjoyed “When Will You Come?” It begins in much the same way as a Four Seasons song would.
I think “Convertible Balloon” is King of the Beach’s most complex track. Don’t take that to mean that it’s a wall of sound with vocals and instrumentals struggling for space and, maybe, freeing themselves from the pack. Instead, it’s a cleverly orchestrated track that scatters its pieces with careful consideration. Like gorging on a big Thanksgiving meal and coming away feeling satisfied (not stuffed), “Convertible Balloon” packs what seems like a ton of material into a tight 2:23 minutes of runtime.
Actually, I’m a fan of its electronics. They make me feel like I’ve transported to the fairgrounds, or even better, in the vicinity of an ice cream truck seeking its first customer.
Wavves, based in San Diego, is a surf rock group signed with Fat Possum Records that hasn’t wasted any time in doing what any good band does: produce. Since their self-titled debut in 2008, Wavves has released a full-length album every year since.
- Wavves is Nathan Williams, Billy Hayes and Stephen Pope.
- King of the Beach is available on Fat Possum Records’ website for $8.99 (mp3) or $10 (vinyl or cd).
- The band will play Lincoln Hall on September 12 with Christmas Island (San Diego) and Killer Whales (Chicago). Tickets are $12 ($14 at door).
“Post Acid” official music video