Wavves

Afraid of Heights

Mom + Pop

Mar 27, 2013 Issue #45 - Winter 2013 - Phoenix Bookmark and Share


Thus follows the Under the Radar guide to writing a decent surf rock song. (1) Get the guitars out and play something a bit Dinosaur Jr.-y. (2) Sound, like, laid back and whatever, dude. (3) Do something a bit Beach Boys-y, like a vocal harmony, some chimes, or going "woo-ooh-ooh-ooh."

Forgive us the cynicism, but it's probably not that hard. This isn't to detract, though, from San Diego's Wavves, one of the most accomplished surf rock outfits about (don't ask us to name another). Much of their appeal matches that of singer Nathan Williams' girlfriend Bethany Cosentino's band Best Coast: care-free, laid-back music to simply enjoy and not to overanalyse. If there can be accusations of a lack of ambition, there must also be praise for both Wavves' lack of pretension and their consistency.

Afraid of Heights carries on, unsurprisingly, where its predecessor King of the Beach left off... and indeed where it started. It's certainly at its most successful when it adheres to the blueprint above; tracks such as "That's On Me," "Paranoid," and "Afraid of Heights" are the kind of enjoyable pop-punk fluff that Weezer would nowadays look at with a sense of envy.

Given that lo-fi surf punk is by nature a pretty rudimentary genre, there's little point in expecting Wavvessample lyric "Wooooeehooo, wooooeehoo, I'm paranoid, I'm paranoid" to break any new ground here. Indeed, on this slightly-too-long-at-13-tracks album, the missteps come when they stray from the tried-and-tested blueprint (let's be generous and call these the more ambitious moments); "Sail to the Sun," for example, opens with chiming bells that leave you wondering if they've messed up the timing of the release of a Christmas album, and "Dog" drags as the hooks are abandoned in favour of a droning and tired refrain. (www.wavves.net)

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10



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jasen
March 27th 2013
11:57am

this record is on mom + pop not fat possum

Matthew Kagler
March 27th 2013
7:20pm

Thus follows the Under the Radar guide to writing a record review. (1) Form an opinion before actually listening to the album in question. (2) Pidgion hole the band into a genre they don’t even belong in per say. (3) Make sure to post the review with an incorrect record label and zero editing - “Forgive us the cynicism…” anybody? 

Please.