WAVVES – Wavves/Wavvves (2008/2009)

Wavves - Wavves I’m gonna try my best to not repeat myself here. No, really. I gave a pretty good rant regarding my feelings with some of the more recently trumpeted lo-fi acts in my review of the debut of The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, so I don’t need to go into any more detail there, save for the fact that after listening to two albums, I can now add Wavves to the list of new lo-fi acts receiving acclaim that I feel is undeserved.

To give credit where credit is due, Wavves are quite dedicated to their lo-fi aesthetics; much of their music sounds as if was recorded with broken/sporadically functional equipment in a bomb shelter, or some other cramped and sonically unforgiving space. And unlike No Age, who’s total lack of consistency (coupled with halfhearted arrangements) left me underwhelmed, it should be said that Wavves are remarkably consistent. It’s just too bad that they’re consistent at being aimless. Now that’s a shame, and it’s a shame that carries across both of their albums.

The first of these, the self-titled Wavves (with two v’s, released on cassette last September), breaks down rather simply. It’s a steady mix of uninteresting garage-rock (Lover, Teenage Super Party), one-dimensional texture-fucks (Yoked, Space Raider) and two (count ’em!) good songs (Vermin and Beach Goth, which succeed because they suggest that there might, in fact, be something to them other than a wall of inconsequential noise).

Wavves - Wavves The second album, the similarly-titled Wavvves (with three v’s, released this week), fares a bit better because the production is a touch (read: a touch) cleaner when it’s beneficial for it to be cleaner (the crisp drums on Wavvves stand out, even when everything else still sounds like hell), but the album is in many ways even less impressive than the double-v debut. The irresolute filler-to-actual song ratio is still too high, and there are even fewer notable songs to mention here (of the twelve songs on the album, only Get In The Sun is worth returning to).

Having processed both of these albums together was an immensely disappointing experience; afterward, I turned on Merzbow’s Pulse Demon, and immediately felt both at peace and alive. You see, this is the issue I take with this new crop of lo-fi acts; they’re being heralded as raucous and aurally powerful, but all they’re really doing is taking some very ordinary songs and roughing them up around the edges. You can call it lo-fi, you can call it noise pop, you can call it “experimental”, but nothing you call it hides the fact these bands are being lauded not for their music, but for their noisy approach to it. No. I’m sorry, but that’s fucking bullshit. And that’s why I can’t get behind bands like Wavves – because their approach is both musically disingenuous and emotionally ineffective.

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One Response to “WAVVES – Wavves/Wavvves (2008/2009)”

  1. […] bands when it the internet in 2009. Weezer? Yeah, kinda. The Beach Boys? A little bit. Crocodiles? Wavves? Hey, it’s not that crazy. I could go on, but Swim is a song that eludes being pinned down in […]

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