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Saturday, May 25, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: WAVVES - Afraid of Heights

WAVVES - Afraid of Heights (Warner Bros)

The San Diego band's fourth album is an adrenaline rush of angsty guitar charged beach pop fun with hyper melodies.

Wavves' supercharged slacker punk pop sounds like a more reckless version of Weezer. They have no shortage of oversized hooks or bratty exuberance, filling every song with sing-along choruses with pogo inducing energy. They create the illusion that it could all fall apart at any second, but rather than sounding dangerous they come off as good natured trouble makers.

Much has been made of this being the band's first album for a major label and their working with a name producer in John Hill (Pink, Santigold. MIA, Devo, Christina Aguilera). The band's sound is tighter and cleaner, but it still has most of the lofi edge of their earlier work. I'm not sure if it's possible to make a big production values lo-fi record, but if it is, this is it. Much of what makes the label transition work so well is  frontman/songwriter Nathan Williams' sharper focus and coming in with a great batch of songs.

Individually every single song is solid and worth hearing. The only problem I have with the record is that it gets a bit samey. There's not much variety in the arrangements or production, so everything sort of blends together into one grungy sugar rush. That being said, it's one of my most played albums of the year hits the spot when I'm up for some angsty fun.

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