By Dominic V. Cassidy(@lyre_of_apollo)
Unquestionably fun and full of life, firing pop laser beams of who cares at no one in particular, Wavves shine very brightly, however short the release feels. The Californian rockers, whose songs are steeped in happy little tunes and jingles, are definitely going for a new vibe here on their latest LP You’re Welcome, something that was arguably needed. The band’s last release – 2015’s V – was a great, fast, angry rock album, and You’re Welcome does build on this, creating a genuinely enjoyable pop-punk album; however, the sheer uniformity to previous releases can create an amount of monotony.
This is no declaration that You’re Welcome is a bad album. Quite the contrary, in fact, it’s a decent album and does prove Wavves to be one of the more consistent bands going right now, in the way they release anthemic music so regularly, and to such a high standard though, sadly, consistency doesn’t always mean improvement.
The album certainly has many influences from the pop music world, which does do it a heap of good, sticking closer to building keyboard crescendos, and harmonies, and maybe staying away from the long shouting seen in V. You’re welcome doesn’t immediately appear to be this way however, its intro track Daisy, is all you could hope for in a pop song, it’s happy and full of vigor, ready to go, go go; and through this it does lose the more punk sensibilities Wavves have gathered over the years, and by the time you get to track 10: Under, you are in a world of pure sound-pop electronic bliss.
As far as the tracks go, they are generally jam worthy, exemplifying the kind of stoner-surf-ness that Wavves do quite well. The first track of the album as mentioned previously, Daisy, is a good template for the rest of the album, with frontman Nathan Williams singing about needing someone, and just leaving everything; it definitely does have a wee dash of existentialism about it, especially in the line: “Despite what it might mean, I’m not worrying grinning through the teeth,” which does add to the kind of cinematic sense of adventure in the track; making hugely enjoyable, and stand out right at the start.
Another great track on the album is No Shade, a song almost entirely based around sitting by a pool drinking lemonade, honestly if you removed the (fantastic) riffing guitars and the heavy drums, this could easily be a pop song; further proving how well Wavves take this in their stride. The whole vibe of getting the girl, drinking lemonade at a lake house, and not giving a fuck, could be too clichéd, but it does work well, as a kind of coming of age summer song.
As with most albums, there is a gradient that applies to the tracks that place them to the listener on an intrinsic sliding scale of good, and bad. While You’re Welcome does have many songs verging more to the prior, and lacking any extremely awful ones, there are a couple which the listener may find somewhat lacking. Stupid In Love does give a go at exemplifying the low points of the album and wrapping it with a neat little bow with a junkie named Lola. The song does start promising more divergence, and a deep dive into the pop veins running through the album, but once the first chorus is gone, all the life is gone. The song is made up mostly of “La la la” ‘s and “Stupid in love,” ‘s, leaving the track sounding more like unedited samples rather than a thought out piece of music.
You’re Welcome is exactly what you may think it is if you have any experience with the band: it is a solid pop-rock album which strayed from the bands angrier tone, adopting a more poppy visage, giving a new sound. While there are poor songs on the album, it is generally to the high standard, both in terms of production and quality, that is expected of the band. While it does more or less continue with the band’s style, its baby step sized departures do hold some promise for the band’s assured future in the industry.
BEST TRACKS: Under, Daisy, Million Enemies, Animal
WORST TRACKS: Stupid In Love, Hollowed Out