Wavves finds moments of success on You’re Welcome

WavvesThings have been a bit turbulent for Wavves since their last record. During the release of their previous album V, tensions between the band and their label Warner Bros escalated to a point that could no longer be ignored. Enter Ghost Ramp, Wavves newly minted label imprint and merchandise shop. Now frontman Nathan Williams does things on his own terms, and with nobody to answer to, Wavves are free to write and release whatever they like. This is both a blessing and a curse on You're Welcome.

The title track, with its “Love Buzz” style riff, is fairly straightforward. The '90s atmosphere makes the title track comfortingly familiar without becoming passé – it’s both nostalgic and contemporary at once, so easily identifiable that it could fit on any previous Wavves album. The album needs this lynchpin, as the rest of You're Welcome is much more of a mixed bag. Recent single “No Shade” is sharp and frenzied, as Williams toys with samples and layering to create something vaguely scatterbrained. The track teeters on the edge of chaos, but manages to hold the line, and this tension works in the song’s favour.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case elsewhere on the album. The 8-bit video game sound effects of “Under” don’t quite sit right next to the blasts of guitar and percussion in the chorus, making the track hard to get into. The change isn’t sudden or jarring, but it certainly isn’t smooth, and as a result the song is trapped in a sort of limbo. “Come to the Valley” is also a counter-intuitive mix of song styles, with a cycling dancehall introduction. The layers blend better than on “Under”, but the repetitive lyrics make the song fall equally short.

“Dreams of Grandeur”, on the other hand, hits all the right notes. The lyrics are caught somewhere between hopelessness and optimism, riding along on top of Wavves’ barbed wire riffs. The switches in style blend well, and make it easier to see what the band were aiming for with “Under” and “Come to the Valley”. When the track downshifts into video game sound effects for a brief interlude, the change in gear works in a way the band couldn’t achieve on the rest of the record. You're Welcome isn’t Wavves’ strongest effort to date, but there are certainly moments of success.

Release: 19th May 2017, Ghost Ramp


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