Wavves, one of the more raw garage-rock bands to come out of the late 2000s, return with their sixth studio album You’re Welcome. Alongside the likes of FIDLAR, Japandroids and Best Coast, Wavves are part of a distinct-sounding rock genre taking the surf of the Beach Boys, the garage of Weezer, and the skate punk of Green Day to create a largely (though not strictly exclusive) “Californian” sound. For a band that released their first album in 2008, Wavves have worked relentlessly; producing and distributing six albums in nine years with only two of those being released by a major record label is quite a feat. Of course, this accomplishment is only enhanced by the standard of these releases, the latest not falling too short from this.
You’re Welcome comprises of twelve tracks in a mere 35 minutes, with three quarters of those falling under the three-minute mark, the shortest being 1:47. This track, No Shade, opens with a fuzz-filled guitar, layered with drums and stoner-vocals. Expectedly, it’s a fast-paced sing-along with a great sense of urgency, really embodying the style of the album.
Opening the album with lead single Daisy, the tone is really set for the rest of the album; sun-drenched, fast past, summer stadium hits. Starting with an infectious riff accompanied with upbeat melodies and fuzzy guitars, this is Wavves as we know them, and not a bad move for such.
The near call and response on No Shade is also rather infectious and provides for a great sing along, giving the track a strong identity and hook. Whilst “no, no, no, no, no” may be simplistic in regards to sentiment and lyrical development, it nonetheless is undeniably catchy and easy to join in with. And whilst the track (and most of the album) may be lyrically uncomplicated (for example “talking in my sleep tonight, I just need to close my eyes” on 9th track Exercise), some of the greatest tracks of all time follow a similar formula, relying on rhythm and melody to invite the crowd into a euphoric moment. It would be excessive to claim Wavves have created the best tracks of all time here, but they still have the potential to create that ‘moment’ with the crowd on this album, and in particular with this track.
This is also achieved on No Shades subsequent track, Million Enemies, which also not only has a call and response element but again has an incredibly infectious chorus, in which lead singer Nathan’s vocal has a strange echo of Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong. Whether done on purpose or whether this was just the style of vocal Nathan was looking to achieve, it nonetheless feels like a nod to the skate-punk icons which assumedly have influenced and encouraged their career. Million Enemies is also incredibly well produced, creating an ideal balance of synthy keyboards, fuzzy guitars and creative harmonies. But more importantly, Wavves manage to maintain the garagey surf rock sound whilst exploring a range of developed instrumental parts, equally balanced to create a developed and more mature sound. This is possibly not only best track on the album, but Wavves best track to date.
Whilst the first half of the album is incredibly strong and consistent, the second half does not provide as much excitement or elaboration from the opening. The slightly 50s-esque attempt in album closer I Love You may be an attempt to emulate what Weezer managed on their debut album with their nod to Buddy Holly, though whilst Weezer focused on the 50s here with the lyrics and their video, Wavves try and embody and evolve the sound of the 50s. However, unfortunately this doesn’t really work here. Although the song isn’t ‘bad’ so to speak, it certainly doesn’t fit with the rest of the album and feels largely undeveloped.
Nonetheless, despite the second half falling into the common trap of weakness compared to the first half, this isn’t at all a strenuous listen, and I didn’t have myself checking how long was left or longing for it to end. This album is short, 35 minutes short, and for the most part these songs are sun clad summer hits, perfect for a drive with the windows down, a day on the beach or a back garden BBQ. You’re Welcome is far from perfection, but that’s a notion rarely achieved, and this album is definitely worth a listen, even if you only have it on in the background and absorb the addictive riffs and contagious melodies that will inevitably be stuck in your mind all day.