Tuesday, April 28, 2009

WAVVES Wavvves (Fat Possum)

Does every dog really have his day? It seems like a comforting mantra, even if it means finally having your day makes you just another dog. Nathan Williams (22, Wavves,) seems to be having his, what with the NY Times lurking his live shows and Pitchfork complimenting him on his terrible hair cut. That Williams has the nebulous buzz shining a mean glare up his amusement park glasses seems supremely ironic given the brother’s longview of malaise and blunt hopelessness. “I’m going nowhere,” says the hook to “Beach Demon,” an early statement of no-purpose on an album whose bare transmission of word-data is wicked solemn, about as uplifting as a ten minute noogie. Of course, good music makes even the palest sentiments into strange magic, and with this in mind Wavvvesoperates as a case study in punk rock as blatant, giddy paradox. It’s hard to read this dude’s blandthems at face value (as soul searching ‘burban blues instead of self-effacing camp caricature) when their sound duds are so pleasing to the teeth and prickly to the touch (like thumb tack flavored Pixie Sticks) and when half of the song titles end in “Goth(s)” or “Demon(s)”. When Williams clamors, wordless and ecstatically haunted, on “Killr Punx, Scary Demons,” it sounds, to this ear, like he “means” it; when he wallows “I’m sooooo bored,” he sounds like a sly brat-poet trying to show you all the silly ways he can kind of say all the things that he can’t really say. Though Wavvves certainly seems like the kind of record that shouldn't be read, and just felt, I can't help but wonder if there is something else hovering in the static here that cuts a bit deeper than the tired "stupid is the new smart" line. If we are all bards, as a good friend of mine recently reminded me, then where is the rest of Williams' story? Is it all just weed and Goths and doldrums and feedback? Why can't I just shut up and enjoy a good punk record? -Tom Whalen

Video for "So Bored" by Wavves:

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