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WAVVES ROLL BACK WITH MISSES & HITS ON ‘YOU’RE WELCOME’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Bleached in the San Diego sunshine and hardened by almost a decade of constant touring, the surf-punk quartet, Wavves, perseveres on with their sixth album, You’re Welcome. While the metamorphosis from struggling, angst-riddled, rebels to manicured, industry-friendly professionals was completed albums ago, lead singer Nathan Williams still has seven shades of smoke up his sleeve on the latest album. Gone is the loveable sloppy reverb found on early songs like “Post Acid” and “No Hope Kid”, but You’re Welcome – while a bit too sanitized – still comes through on rendering catchy choruses.

The album kicks off with “Daisy”, an ode to Williams longtime rocker-beau, Bethany Constantino, the aesthetic gets incrementally better on the title track and then gets downright antagonistic on “No Shade” and “Million Enemies”. However, for each gritty track that harkens back to Wavves former glory, there is an aspartame, campy, kumbaya-esque track that hurts to listen too, most notably: “Dreams of Grandeur”, “Come To The Valley”, and “Stupid In Love”. Oddly the best song on You’re Welcome has a bit of cheesy chorus with bells ringing in the background, but it all works on “Animal”. The band administers a dose of high-RPM punk on “Exercise” and gets massive on “Under”.

While it is unfair and unreasonable to expect a band to remain in a cocoon of stunted growth for over a decade, Wavves doesn’t scream of the urgency and candidness that got them originally noticed. The last couple of albums have come out lukewarm, but respect must be paid to the productivity and grueling schedule that these guys keep. While You’re Welcome is chock full of neutrality and full misses, it does have a handful of hits that prove that the creative juices are still there, and this impeccable live-band has undeniable longevity that is rare.

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