Wavves

King of the Beach

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Snotty and self-loathing as ever, even after catching a huge updraft of success, Wavves’ 2010 outing finds indie rock’s Edward Furlong, aka Nathan Williams, in an actual hi-fi studio. Teamed with Counting Crow/Modest Mouse producer Dennis Herring, who approached Williams after a show, King of the Beach finds the overnight blog sensation in a cleaned-up setting. With more recording toys at his disposal, he takes more risks, showing a new dimension to his stoned mind as he breaks away from muddy skate punk and tries his hand at some dense psychedelia. The sunny “Take on the World” takes a Beulah approach, and “Baseball Cards” finds Williams experimenting with chillwave, complete with weird Ween Quebec-era synths. Of course, Williams is at his best when he’s rocking to the beat of his punk heroes the Descendents or Adolescents, and with Jay Reatard’s former bandmates Billy Hayes and Stephen Pope by his side, “Super Soaker,” “Idiot,” and “Post Acid” are among Wavves’ thrashin’ best. In this glossy well-mixed setting, the songs are more penetrable than the ones on the 2009 homemade outings Wavves and Wavvves. “I’m so Bored,” despite being fantastic, was leveled out by so much tape distortion that it took a dedicated ear to cut through the muck and find the melody. King of the Beach is less abrasive, but it’s still a wildly messy pastiche. Wavves sometimes gets carried away --“Neon Balloon” and its sea of synth gurgles and helium vocals is near silly -- but when Williams finds his stride and carves the tube of punky psych sonics, the results are totally awesome.

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