March 26, 2009

Test Spin: Wavves

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With the popularity of No Age, it seems that punk is trying to make a revival in the new hipster movement. Although it is well known that punk is dead, as we can see with contemporary labeled punk bands like Against Me! being much more pop based than their 1970’s counterparts, this new attempt by No Age illustrates a resurrection of old punk elements in a more progressive, accesible form. This resurrection is embodied by Wavves, a one-man act headed by San Diego’s Nathan Williams. Williams successfully makes punk seem all too cool again. His music sounds like: the Beach Boys and The Zombies meet heavily synthesized punk with a hint of New Wave and Goth. On Wavvves, Williams’ second LP in four months, songs touch on topics like weed and being apathetic. In “So Bored”, Williams repetitively drones “I’m so bored”; while in “No Hope Kids”, he sings of not having a car, girlfriend, family, friends or god. Although the album seems a little lacking in overall structure and flow, Williams is doing something refreshing and shockingly not clichéd. It may be because he is 22 and doesn’t really care about anything (besides making music), but like the Violent Femmes with their thirst for sex, his music has the effect of making you want to embrace your dark side. Although Wavves’ lyrics embraces youthful detachment and lack of concern, his music embraces just the opposite; like punk, it makes you feel alive, ready to jump into a crowd and shout out loud, even if what you’re shouting about is rather nihilistic. Although Wavves is not the next Smiths or Morrissey (he’s far too musically alternative for that), he’s caught onto something that’s definitely worth listening to.