Wavves – You're Welcome
You're Welcome is Wavves' first album since their acrimonious split with Warner, and first on Nathan Williams' new label, Ghost Ramp – the feeling of independence and defiance is not just peppered throughout the album, but splashed haphazardly. Williams has full creative control once more, for better and worse, and the result is as adrenalised and unfocused as you'd expect.
Greater autonomy has allowed Williams to follow his more unusual inclinations, using and creating samples taking inspiration from Cambodian pop, 50s doo-wop, sugary Spector harmonies, and so on. While this makes for some of the more interesting and original songs on the album (Come to the Valley and Under, for example), when fed through Williams' prism the album as a whole has the feel of a slapdash collage, with cut-up samples and half-baked ideas running amok, destroying any chance of cohesion.
The greatest strengths of Wavves are under-utilised here. Straightforward cuts like Daisy, Hollowed Out and Exercise double-down on their surf-rock/garage roots and demonstrate the simple joy of a catchy hook and fuzzy chords – something that's smothered elsewhere on the album beneath the constant tinkering.
You're Welcome and Million Enemies are indicative of the album's biggest blindspot. While desperately conveying new-found independence and trying to celebrate that freedom, Williams has forgotten that having something to say is only half the battle – it still needs to sound good. And beyond the vague sloganeering and attempts to create an “anthem”, these two songs are sorely lacking.
They are perfect encapsulations of the snarky, fuck-you attitude that has been suppressed in the last couple of Wavves releases, but they don't have the scrappy, lo-fi charm that endeared fans to the band seven or eight years ago. Rather than calling out 'haters', it'd be better to demonstrate what the new, revitalised Wavves is going to do with its independence. Show, Nathan; don't tell.
Listen to: Come to the Valley, Under
Buy Wavves - You’re Welcome on LP/CD from Norman Records