To be honest, I didn’t expect to be reviewing another Wavves album. And not just because of the Primavera Sound Festival incident and subsequent fallout. It’s because I was one of the (seemingly) few that actually didn’t enjoy their 2009 self-titled release. The music blogs seemed to fall in love with their slacker lo-fi sound, but it elicited the complete opposite reaction from me, coming off as too sloppy and unfocused for my personal tastes. So seeing the ganja cat cover art for their latest album, King of the Beach (Fat Possum), I just presumed it was more of the same and wouldn’t have given it a chance if it wasn’t for the publicist sending me a copy of the album with a note telling me how great it was.
I’ll have to remember to write him a thank you note as King of the Beach turned out to be a much more agreeable and favorable experience. Bringing in musicians from the late Jay Reatard’s touring band to help expand the sound, the songs seem a lot more crafted and intentional this time around, and more importantly feeling like complete thoughts. To even the staunchest Wavves opponents, try “King of the Beach” or “Green Eyes,” which somehow mesh the laid back California surfer vibe with youthful agitation. And whoever made the simple suggestion in the production meetings in making Nathan Williams’ vocals actually discernable this time around deserves a huge high-five.
So even if you felt disappointed by the hype that the Wavves garnered last year, be willing to reset those preconceived notions and give them another chance with King of the Beach. And if you’re in town this weekend, be sure to check out their (FREE) show at The Billiken Club on Saturday, September 11.