[Ghost Ramp / Mom + Pop / Warner Bros., 2013]
athan Williams is back. The young stoner, slacker, DIY musician follows up 2010’s acclaimed King of the Beach with a powerful, deeper, but ultimately satisfying surf punk album. Afraid of Heights is the first of his albums that is being released on Mom + Pop Music, but the album itself was completely funded by Wavves. The lo-fi aesthetic of the first two albums is nowhere to be found, but the catchy hooks, the in-your-face guitar, and the upbeat depression of Nathan’s lyrics are bountiful.
The album starts out with soft looping chimes that are somewhat reminiscent to the guitar part that was featured on the opening track of 2009’s Wavvves. The chimes suddenly give way to a fast paced, driving bass line that sets the mood for the rest of the album. Lyrics like “I’m gonna pick you up in my arms, give you all of my love” are followed in true Wavves fashion by lines like “First we gotta get high”. The high energy track serves as a great upbeat opener for the album.
The first single on the album is the second track, “Demon to Lean On”. A simple guitar line starts the song with Nathan’s vocals being featured prominently. Lines like “You and I pace along the grass and think of what we had” set up the melancholy mood until the rest of the band comes with “the truth is that it hurts”. The down trodden lyrics are countered with an unapologetically upbeat, pop-punk guitar, bass, and drums lines.
One of the album highlights is “Lunge Forward”, a chaotic, fast-paced punk anthem. Driving bass and fast, hard drums make up a solid backbone for the song with Nathan’s lyrics, once again, being the focal point. “I look up and stretch my arms, you’re fucking boring” are the opening lyrics. Enough said.
This new Wavves album is an amazing effort for the band. After four albums, they may have changed the approach on how to make the music, but the message is the same. Slack off, have fun, it will all be over soon.