Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The short career of Nathan Williams' bombastic, echo chambered, reverb-buried vocals musical project Wavves already has its milestones and its signposts - some of them. The spazzy and fearless, try-anything-under-the-sun, mix the pills and the drink to excess songwriter and guitar player has had his much-publicized freakout moment at a Spanish music festival earlier this summer, which led to the two-piece's original drummer Ryan Ulsh throwing his drumsticks and quitting the band. He's had his real or blown out of proportion personal beef and bloody throw down with nemesis Jared Swilley of Atlanta band The Black Lips. And he's made a very well-received, self-titled debut album so, the boy's done it all. Retire now a legend, young Mr. Williams. Or go ahead and hire on one of the greatest and most pummeling drummers out there - Hella's Zach Hill - and continue honing and adding new degrees of fuzz and distortion to your already sweaty ways. Williams chose the latter and this first recorded session featuring Hill will Williams is a romp - a quick and dirty fling with filling a small room with more liberating and lazy exuberance - the boomy vocals acting exactly like the waves that he gave an extra v to when he was naming what it is he does - than bands two and three times the size. Hill's back at the kit, ripping through his two thousand beats per second, striking like a meteor every time he raises his arms with those sticks. He left the live room completely soaked through his tee-shirt, this tight as a second skin blue jeans and there even existed a visible ring of perspiration an inch and a half deep on his canvas shoes, after only 40 minutes of activity. Williams sent his vocals through all kinds of effects and pedals, giving it the spacey and drowned out presence that he prefers, letting them build and bounce off the walls, trapped like a bird in a storm, cooking up a cloud of smoke that you can never get away from. It's as if you always feel trapped in a Wavves song, as if there are no exits or the ones that are there are doors where the knobs have been sawed off and there's nothing to pull. You're there and Williams works you over with demented guitar lines and dragged out lyrics that are always difficult to decipher over the cacophony, over the bleeding and the instrumental emotions spilling out in a cry for help from some godforsaken weariness. They're loud piledrivers, every Wavves song, just fucking you up, but never over as they appeal to so many of the hidden inner cravings that most music lovers don't openly admit to. It's the kind of music that old timers would dismiss as all-out noise - and there's no place for it in the hearts of many, but Williams is pesky with his noise, giving it that precious melodicism that isn't so easy to bar from the heart. We'd share a cocktail with this kind of noise and effervescent energy any day. It's music made by the threadbare kid with hopes that the sounds in his squiggly head will someday be the answer to many of his problems. It's music made by the kids who put themselves through the ringers - beating their hands into thick mitts of calloused skin and themselves into stressed out, temporary insanity to a point where chemicals only escalate the paranoia - to get to a better place, where they're not so bored, less poor and maybe just a little more understood.
Wavves Official Site
Fat Possum Records