Review By: Mandie Garcia
Wavves' third album, King of the Beach, is a far cry from the DIY style of the previous two records; but it still packs all of the fun California surf-punk that made them a huge buzz band back in 2009.
The key member and Wavves founder is singer/lead guitarist Nathan Williams, and he is joined by former members from the Jay Reatard band: Billy Hayes and Stephen Pope. Williams stays true to his signature 1960s surf rock roots and knack for telling stories of teenage wastelands. Pope and Hayes joining the line-up, add the very polished, radio-friendly aspect that Wavves has been missing all along. Wavves debuted with a strong presence and vast potential. The new band line-up, among many other changes, gave Wavves a much needed makeover. The result is an impressive effort full of strong tracks. You won't hear any lame efforts or distorted vocals recorded via X-Box Live headset like Williams' first release in 2008.
Tracks like: "When Will You Come," "King of the Beach," and "Post Acid," offer plenty of "oooohs," and "sha-la-las," for everyone to easily sing along to and get stuck in their head pretty quick.
Wavves has always gotten critical acclaim and buzz for their amazing ability to communicate the anger and frustration of growing pains, the struggle of young adulthood, and society's love/hate relationship with responsibility. Midway through the album, Williams showcases a songwriting talent on-par with The Jam's signature song: "Going Underground." UK band, The Jam are forever punk pioneers for truly communicating the poverty, violence, heartbreak, and hopelessness of the 1980s Thatcher era. Wavves packs this level of intensity and honesty through the two key tracks of the album: "Take on the World," and "Green Eyes." Both depict an angry punk's miserable outcry at a life lived hard. Williams is fed up with some kind of life-long struggle, you truly believe his desperation, and it's a very special thing when such genuine vulnerability is expressed through music.
Only now, Wavves has a cleaner, better produced sound that makes for songs as catchy as your typical pop punk style, but armed with the intensity of The Undertones' classic: "Teenage Kicks."