There was a moment in time when suggesting that Wavves would have a sixth album was laughable. Such was the breakdown of main man and songwriter Nathan Williams following the breakout success of their first album that led to most presuming that Wavves was going to be a short lived experiment. Yet Williams did manage to make the groups second album King of the Beach; to date the most perfect crystallisation of the groups wailing, bratty skate-punk. Now its seven years later and there’s been four albums in between, all of them decent but none of them truly great. There were hints of a shift on the spacey, fuzzy Cloud Nothings collab-album which served as a counterweight to the disappointing V but for the most part Wavves seemed reluctant to stray from the formula that has served them well.
There are no revolutions here on You’re Welcome but there are hints of exploration and change. The result is a mixed bag of characteristic sun-kissed social confusion, fuzzy guitars and Williams’ layered vocals like a Greek chorus of Cali surfers. You’re Welcome is tied together by a flattened lo-fi sounding production which works well except for occasions when it’s overcome by its own tinniness.
The most varied thing on this record is William’s song writing which, while generally adhering to the group’s noisy pop/surf –rock, has a variety of scope and structure. Unfortunately this isn’t always to the albums benefit; tracks like ‘You’re Welcome’ and ‘Million Enemies’ sound like a mix of Dandy Warhols deep cuts with the tepidness of Phantom Planet. But then there’s the punk spit fire of ‘No Shade’ and the enjoyably wobbly riffage of opener ‘Daisy’. The rest of the album seems pulled between Wavves’ roots and a newer, indie-pop style of meshing hooks to expansive choruses. A perfect example is ‘Hollowed Out’ which fuses silly wooh-woohs with a big big chorus like a tsunami hitting a packed beach. The same is true for ‘Under’ which despite its festival banger concessions may be the most seamless of these new experiments.
You’re Welcome is the most interesting Wavves album in a while. Despite a few flops in the tracklist the general quality of the songs is up to the group’s usual punchy standard. With this in mind it’s hard to call this a bad album but the inconsistencies throughout and within certain individual songs, the sometimes thin production and the odd left field clanger make it a Quality Street box of pleasure and grimacing disappointment. Eoghain Meakin