Wavves frontman Nathan Williams is not sorry for partying — that much is clear.
King of the Beach
Green Label Sound
Williams has certainly had his share of press over the past year, leading up to his band’s sophomore release, King of the Beach. The San Diego-bred, pizza-loving weed demon/skate punk blew up the blogosphere with his own homegrown version of lo-fi noise-pop experimentation, often referred to as “shitgaze,” on his first, deliberately unpolished Wavves EP, followed by his second album Wavvves. Then, in rapid succession: critical acclaim from media outlets such as Pitchfork, followed by the infamous Primavera festival meltdown (in which Williams took a reported drug cocktail of ecstasy and Valium before jeering the crowd, and then, if that weren’t enough, prompting former Wavves drummer Ryan Ulsh to pour a beer on Williams’s head before calling it quits for good) — all of which led up to an inevitable Internet backlash.
After finding solace in the arms of Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, and smoking a bowl or fifty-hundred, Williams managed to quickly regroup from the disaster, finding new bandmates and signing with Mountain Dew’s Green Label Sound for King of the Beach, a jaunty, snotty overture to weed, surf and sun.
King is definitely not Wavvves version three-point-oh (or “Wavvvves,” as some had surmised it would be called). While Williams’s first albums relied heavily on experimentation and haze, King has a distinctive, mostly fuzz-free sound that veers the Wavves project in a new direction. This time around, Williams’s voice is actually discernible (and uncannily reminiscent of Blink 182’s Tom DeLonge) amidst the synth clutter. He’s distinctively less morose, too.
If Wavvves represented Williams at his most despondent and withdrawn, then King shows his sunnier, extroverted side. Instead of lamenting the goth scene and his lack of future prospects like in previous records — “Got no car, got no money,” Williams takes on a more blatantly sarcastic tone, even during his favorite, oft-mentioned topic of self-reproach.
On “Green Eyes,” (essentially a love ballad — in the style of Wavves, anyway) Williams claims that all of his friends hate his guts. He’s obviously kidding, as the sentiment is accompanied by an extremely up-temp guitar riff and drum beats. Introspection is definitely not a key trait of Williams, who seems to have a predilection for taking it easy (via copious 420 references, Garfield memorabilia, et al).
This is not to say that everything about Wavves has changed. Williams impishness remains inherent throughout the record. The lead track, “Post-Acid” features his signature snide snarls. He’s “just having fun with you,” though. No worries. Worrying is not something in Williams’s vernacular, anyhow.
William’s laissez-faire attitude has served him well — musically, at least. And while his personal life has definitely had its ups and downs (often documented in the lyrics of his songs), they sure make for one hell of a summer album.