Wavves Say You’re Welcome
When the grainy guitar and rapid drums begin, the listener realizes that there is no mistaking this album for anything other than Wavves. Their new record, You’re Welcome, is a buzzy and pop-drenched exploration of SoCal lo-fi.
The first half of the album is slightly more experimental for Wavves. They play a bit more with harmonizing and synth, while the back half veers towards the typical lo-fi their fans have grown to know and love. “Daisy,” the first track on the album, introduces the listener to surf pop saturated in warbling guitar and lyrics about the beach and all things California. The title song, “You’re Welcome,” opens with a monotone Nathan Williams singing, “Sand track, heart attack, pullin on a cigarette,” before exploding into loud, lo-fi heaven. The guitar resembles a sound a bird in distress might make. The high-pitched, frenetic progressions are layered under unprocessed drums and harmonizing from the band.
The shortest track, “Cheap Heat,” is the harshest-sounding song and uses its one minute and forty-seven seconds to fill in as much gritty guitar and pop-y harmonies as it can hold. “Hollowed Out,” the dreamiest song, is not without its unrefined instrumentation. Instead of making that the focal point of the track, the band choose to focus more on its nostalgic feeling with the help of synth and echoey guitar. “Come to the Valley” starts off like a Beach Boys number, with heavy harmonizing and instrumentals that feel as if they came straight out of a Monty Python skit. The catchiest song comes in the form of “Million Enemies.” It is both parts lo-fi and surf pop, peppered with choruses that one cannot help but sing along to. With the band singing, “I got enemies, a million enemies but baby I feel fine,” this track is perfect for listening to in the car with all the windows rolled down as ocean air seeps inside.
There is a turning point on the last half of the album and, after the trippy “Come to the Valley,” the listener is greeted with “Animal,” a song that could easily be from an earlier Wavves record. “Stupid in Love” and “Exercise” are two gems that would make Ariel Pink and Best Coast proud. The noisy “Under” is brimming with unusual and harsh textures. The last two songs, “Dreams of Grandeur” and “I Love You,” are reminiscent of the ’90s while also retaining their modernity.
You’re Welcome is a record that is unlike most music being released currently. The guitar is crude, the drums loud and the vocals raw. Whether it’s Williams’s vocals or the chemistry that exists between bandmates, Wavves seem to bridge gaps between generations and remain relevant in a music culture where everything else remains so processed.