Wavves – V (Ghost Ramp/Warner Bros.)

Wavves - V

Wavves – V (2015)
Ghost Ramp/Warner Bros.

Waves of fuzzy, technicolour-dream guitars wear a smooth coat, anchored to steady pop punk beats and antibody forming vocal melodies; they’re that catchy. San Diego, California’s Wavves might have gone all Led Zeppelin titling their fifth album, V, but really, it’s the antithesis of such self-indulgence. Instead, it courses with urgency, freshness and thrifty pop-punk energy.

V mixes tie-dyed, stoner weirdness and Ramones-inspired punk rock with a yearning sense of self-assured uncertainty. There’s a defiant confidence in being unconfident, or purpose in being aimless that’s infectious. And straight away, it’s the brightest and most cohesive Wavves have ever sounded. The first five songs fly by in 13 and-a-half manic minutes; hooks flailing, every song catchier than the one before.

A slight dark detour soon rejoins the art-school, pop-punk super highway, before vocalist Nathan Williams’ big ending, “Cry Baby.” “They don’t know the creatures in my head, somewhere between a life and freezing dead” he sings, before things get really weird and the album ends with him screaming “Can’t breathe” over and over again, until he literally… can’t breathe.

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