Label: Fat Possum
Release Date: 2009-03-18
The nearly self-titled sophomore album from San Diego blogger darling Nathan Williams and co. works better as a concept than an actual collection of tracks. Williams’ concept: gorgeous pop hooks buried in cerebellum-scraping distortion collages. If that concept sounds familiar, it’s because that’s the formula employed by every fucking Southern Californian buzz band nowadays, as well as most every indie fave that’s ever been labeled lo-fi, no-fi, no-wave, etc., from the Velvet Underground to Sonic Youth to the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Wavvves list of precursors is limitless, but the album’s primary influence seems to be a set of severely blown speakers. The biggest differentiator is the near-confrontational amount of distortion applied — we’re talking a water-warped Jesus & Mary Chain cassette playing in a garage-sale tape deck, here. Tambourine-happy “Beach Demon,” full of obscured female cooing and redundant fuzz bass winds up sounding like a Jan & Dean record played with a 10-penny nail, and its oft-repeated “Going nowhere” tag line is sadly self-aware. Hiding under the scratched-up surface is a worn-out retread of ’60s-era surf rock occasionally made less boring by some gutsy guitar work or an off-kilter drum solo. Structure-less instrumental cuts such as “Goth Girls” are more interesting, suggesting Williams is a better noisemaker than songwriter.