King of the Beach – Wavves

It took me a bit to get into Nathan Williams music. Let’s just say, it isn’t the most digestible thing out there. When he first emerged onto the scene with Wavves (2008) and it’s sequel Wavvves (2009), he had a crappy sound. So crappy, that it was actually pretty good. Recorded on the internal microphone on a Macbook, the first two albums showed us what Nathan Williams’ music was: chaotic. Everything was distorted: the vocals, the guitar, the drums. It was horribly recorded to a point where it actually meshed together really well. What followed was a tour no one would forget. In Spain of 2009, he permanently pissed off his drummer by screwing up an entire set. Annoyed, the drummer took his beer, dumped it on Williams head and left the stage. Naturally, Williams got pissed yet this didn’t stop him from attempting to play through until someone unplugged his amp and mic. He confessed he was on a pill cocktail of Valium and MMDA as well as an alcoholic. In his early 20’s and in just two years, Williams was going off harder than most bands that have been around for ten years. So what was next?

Drastic change. Just when we thought we have Williams written off as another burnt out stoner rocker, he puts down the bong for a second, reaches across the table, bitch-slaps us and takes our hit. He also calls up the late Jay Reatard’s backing band (comprised of Billy Hayes and Stephen Pope) and records King of the Beach, an album that flips his old catalog on its head. Swapping out his parent’s basement for a recording studio, King of the Beach changes Williams’ sound significantly. It’s polished, clean, and audible. Williams commented that this would mean that he would have to write better songs and he does.

King of the Beach kicks off with the title track. The guitar is crunchy, the vocals clear, and the lyrics are playful. “You’re never gonna stop me” becomes Williams comeback statement. It’s almost like he’s inviting us to roll joints, come down to the beach and go surfing, but not in the overused Beach Boys persona that a bunch of shitty indie bands have used nowadays. It’s a fun track.

Idiot is a Nirvana-sounding track. The riff sounds really Cobain-ish (which isn’t a bad thing) and the lyrics are fantastic. This appears to be the album’s “fuck you” track. It can also be described as our teenaged mottos. “I’m not supposed to be a kid, but I’m an idiot. I’d say I’m sorry, but it wouldn’t mean shit.” You’re lying to yourself if you never went through a phase in your life where you thought that.

Post Acid is another great track. The intro and chord progression of the beginning sound like, well, if Blink 182 weren’t pussies and coming down after a wild night. Trying to get through the low feeling, Williams tries to have fun with it. Whether he breaks out the gravity bong to help himself get back on a good level or he helps himself to another case of Bud Light (he posted on twitter that he recently bought 100 cases while on tour), Williams tries to make the best out of a shit situation.

Green Eyes starts out soft but gets heavier. Apparently it alludes to Oxycodone or at least that’s what Adam told me. Listening to the lyrics, it makes sense. It’s about alienating friends and running away with something cause “I’m a fool”. Sounds like addiction and c’mon, we all know that even though he looks like he’s still in high school, Nathan goes off harder than most college kids. Excellent track though.

The worst track on here is easily Convertible Balloon. It’s got like a weird bass beat that throws it off. Nathan probably took too many drugs for that song. Oh well, shit happens.

All of the other tracks are great too. King of the Beach is definitely a great album and worth checking out. Other musicians take note, this is how you want to make a comeback. Follow Nathan’s way and you’ll be a lot better than if you pull a Pete Doherty.

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