Wavves might have named their new album “Afraid of Heights”, but they are not afraid to let their music soar to new levels of summer punk bliss.
The band has been making punk summer jams since 2008, when founder Nathan upload some lo-fi demos of his surf punks songs online. Three albums and one over-hyped relationship with Best Coast lead singer later, Waves is back with their new album “Afraid of Heights”. It’s easily their best one yet, filled with catchy melodies, surf punk guitar, and more topical range then their past albums.
Filled with themes of anger and self-loathing, an alternate title for “Afraid of Heights” could have been “Nirvana goes to the Beach”. The flagship grunge band’s influence can be found all over this record. Single “Demons to Lean on” tackles similar lyrical territory as Kurt Cobain, with lines “ambivalent and young, were probably just dumb”, and the band adopts Nirvana’s soft loud dynamic for the verses and chorus.
Wavves always had nihilistic tendencies, but this time they left a bit of their sun soaked optimism behind in favor of Nirvana’s peppy form of self-loathing. The song “Beat Me Up” has the pace and feel of Wavves’ past hits like “King of the Beach” but instead of tales of surf and sand, they include heartfelt lyrics with a twist. “ I just want to spend some time with you, or you could beat me up” Nathan drones. Sail to the Sun keep the old spirit of the band alive with a soaring chorus of ooohs and lyrics of drugs and sunshine.
The band has its slower moments as well. Songs like “Everything is my Fault” slow the buzz down and let you feel the burn. It’s not all gloom and doom however. Nathan keeps things light with harmonies, xylophones, and sampled children’s voices. Even when he’s moaning “Still I’ll be your dog” you can’t help but bob your head contentedly.