Afraid Of Heights

Written by: PP on 03/10/2013 23:05:59

Wavves. This band has been on the lips of every hipster in recent years thanks to their lo-fi soundscape that draws equally much from indie rock as it does from post-punk. Even surfer rock is what I've seen it be called over the years. And for once, they might be onto something. "Afraid Of Heights" is their fourth album to date and also their cleanest and most polished one, yet it still trusts itself fully in an immersive, echoing sound that brings together noise, garage-ish production values, and a slightly retrospective 90s style sound in a way that's actually pretty darn catchy.

You'll immediately notice the droning vocals of Nathan Williams, which act as a perplexing contrast to the surprisingly high tempo riffs and power chords that act as the driving force of Wavves sound. He has a 90s influenced vocal style that you might associate with a number of britrock and/or indie rock bands from the era, which carries a degree of arrogance to it that's almost a prerequisite to be able to pull off this type of sound convincingly. At the same time, the guitars remind you of the original punk spirit from the old school days, despite being flavored with indie-rock tendencies and noise-rock ideals. Curiously enough, the combination of the three styles results in infectious songs that move along quickly and get to the point fast, but hang about in your mind for ages afterwards. It's so simple, yet it has enough depth to last. Much of this can be attributed to the way the soundscape is executed, because just like Japandroids, RVIVR and others like them, the sheer joy of playing shines through their sound here, even if it isn't as bright and overtly melodic as those two bands.

Album opener "Sail To The Sun" explodes out your speakers as a Brit rock song on steroids and filtered through a dirty production, pushing its way towards the punk side of their sound spectrum. On the polar opposite side, "Everything Is My Fault" is a far more ambient and experimental piece, which falls almost into art rock given its loud and echoing soundscape. Then you have "Lunge Forward", which toys with pop elements given its polished production. Its high-octane indie-punk guitars are simply irresistible. Later on, "That's On Me" sounds like a long-lost Oasis song from "Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants"-era, albeit with a slightly faster tempo. So as you can see, variety isn't what stops Wavves from being successful on "Afraid Of Heights".

In fact, what am I saying. Nothing stops them from being extremely convincing on the record. The first half of the album alone blows away most music fans with its simplistic, droning, noisy atmosphere that still manages to stay super catchy in the process. When it's time to experiment a little more on the second half of the album, it still works. "Afraid of Heights" is a landmark album in the genre and one that'll elevate Wavves into new heights, that's for sure. They'll be sneaking up on countless top 10 lists by year's end no doubt.


Download: Sail To The Sun, Demon To Lean On, Lunge Forward, Gimme A Knife
For the fans of: Best Coast, Fidlar, Guided By Voices, iceage, The Hives
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.03.2013
Mom + Pop

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