Reviews

Wavves
You're Welcome

(Ghost Ramp)

7/10

Nathan Williams is now a grown man and is eager to prove it. During the past decade, the 30-year-old Californian has embodied the archetypal punk rocker, fuelling his life and career with drugs, fights, DIY recordings and booze. It didn’t take long before Wavves gained a massive attention not just within the so-called indie circuit, but also caught the eye of the majors. In 2013, he signed with one of them, Warner. 

But things crumbled quickly and, after a couple of albums made with no self-control whatsoever, Williams went back in charge, split with the company and used the advance money to start his Ghost Ramp enterprise, a multi-disciplinary label and space. He was fulfilling his desire to create an active community of creatives around his Wavves project – and to make a statement out of his business.

‘You’re Welcome’ is the first creature to be born from this venture, “the soundtrack to this new lease of freedom,” he says. A freedom which means discipline and control for Williams, setting a strict working routine for the recordings and, for the first time, drawing inspiration from much further outside of himself. The result is a tidied-up version of the signature vintage (retromaniac?) Wavves sound. This time things lean more towards the early pop of the ’50s paired with a ’90s indie rock urgency. It’s less about the energy of punk, but still raw and abrasive.

Organs, jangle guitars and layered vocals create a fresh, dirty doo-wop which would make the ideal soundtrack for an bratty recreation of Grease, the best examples being ‘Come the Valley’ and the closing ‘I Love You’ (probably Williams’ very first torch song). A hint of glam transpires from ‘Million Enemy’, the outstanding track of the album, channelling Gary Glitter and the New York Dolls, ready to become an indie dancefloor ear-worm.

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