Wavves did the major label thing, but now they're back to the DIY thing.Ghost Ramp, 2017
7.0 / 10
Wavves‘ main man Nathan Williams is finished riding one wave in particular for his sixth album, You’re Welcome. Williams’ long-running project is one-and-done with major label Warner Bros. They released his last album, V, and it was an experience that gave Williams the confidence that he could “legitimize” his own record label (Ghost Ramp). This is why You’re Welcome comes to us via Ghost Ramp. Should we expect to hear something different now that Williams is left to his own devices? Turns out that we should; though, it’s not immediate.
Instead, You’re Welcome begins with almost a rehash of the Wavves we know. Album opener “Daisy” has Wavves’ signature surf-punk sound and balances catchy with edgy. While Williams is capable of getting us to sing along, it also feels likes he’s on the verge of venting unstable rage. But really, Williams’ aggressive side never shows up on You’re Welcome. The title track’s riffs are crunchy. But it’s nothing more than a hook and some fuzz. “No Shade” is another summery rock anthem. Williams sings, “I’m at my pool/ Drinking lemonade/ No shade.” He doesn’t sound like he’s willing to relent his crown as “King of the Beach.”
All of this is fine and dandy if a little ordinary from Wavves. Well, You’re Welcome eventually takes a turn into unchartered waters. “Million Enemies” welcomes synthesizers into the mix. However, Williams snarls away any new age vibes with his performance. It’s a change of pace from Wavves’ past work and stands out as something special here. Good special or bad special is your call. On “Hollowed Out”, Williams tries an androgynous inflection to give the song a somewhat snotty, glam quality. Williams’ charm sells the song very well.
Perhaps the oddest duck of the bunch is “Come To The Valley”. I’m not even sure how to describe this song. It’s like a mixture of doo-wop and a tourism commercial. Is he doing an advertisement? It kind of feels like it, but he’s selling me a ticket. Without some of its stranger yet welcome experiments, You’re Welcome would be another decent summer album. However, Wavves has already given us plenty of those. Thanks for trying new things, Nathan.