Release Date: March 26, 2013
Label: Mom + Pop
Tracks On Repeat
1. Mystic
2. Paranoid
3. I Can't Dream
6/10

WOW. Could this possibly be the first WAVVES album that doesn’t make me feel as though I’m strutting along a sun-blazed beach, surrounded by BBQs, volleyballs and fit surfers in their boardies? I think it might well be. Sure, it still makes me feel as though I’m enjoying the Californian heat, perhaps this time it just feels as if the sun’s hiding behind some clouds. Maybe this is because the band’s fourth album feels incredibly poignant compared to every other record they’ve released. But hey, this new direction isn’t exactly a bad thing! Wasn’t it about time Nathan Williams and his batch finally started to mumble about something other than laying round spouting lyrics about weed? However, just as you thought this may have miraculously happened, album opener ‘Sail to The Sun’ launches out another lyric: “First we gotta get high”. Here we go again. C’mon Nathan, aren’t you getting a bit old for this?!

Track one, ‘Sail to The Sun’ initially lulls you into believing that this might be an early winter album, with a 41 second “Christmas-jingle” intro, before throwing you into a typically screechy WAVVES skater-anthem. Title track ‘Afraid Of Heights’ brings a complete 90′s boyband nostalgic feel, as Williams moans “I’ll always be on my own”, whilst guitars rumble at an attempt to evoke some positive energy. Their new sound has been compared to the likes of Weezer and this track especially demonstrates some kind of influence. Tracks two, three and four, for example. ‘Demon to Lean On’, ‘Mystic’ and ‘Lunge Forward’ may as well be counted as just one long track. Carrying through the band’s noted, lo-fi noise, with each song respectively unleashing more life; this ensemble practically summarises WAVVES fourth album as a whole.

Zzzz, track number five, ‘Dog’ is, um, somewhat boring. Its repetitive lyrics makes it the kind of track you might use as torture, in an attempt to drive someone completely crazy. It’s basically a filler and that is all. Finally! ‘Gimme a Knife’, ‘Paranoid’ and ‘Beat Me Up’ scream some of King of The Beach‘s ardent nature. Bouncing around and back on their surfboards, they race along, not bothering to try and pretend to get all deep and depressed, whilst sat on a couch with a bong like the other tracks do. Their fast-moving surf riffs, cheer at a sun-kissed sound and Williams’ vocals give off the feel that he’s in a better place.

All-round, the LP itself isn’t that bad, it’s just it isn’t that great either. Lacking in the confidence of King Of The Beach and unveiling the lackadaisical attitude of WAVVVES, it seems that rather than continuing the gradual improvement suggested by the third album, the boys are reverting back to their old ‘beginners’ ways. It was inevitable that new direction was going to be a love/hate kind of thing and despite the response being HUGE to the new reborn melancholy WAVVES, I’m afraid to say, I just ain’t feelin’ it.

Lillie Esme Bellamy
@LillieEBellamy

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