Wavves - You're Welcome (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


You're Welcome (2017)

Ghost Ramp

Since their inception, Wavves has been a high water mark in slacker pop punk. Reared so clearly on Dookie, Nathan Williams and co. have always played the hell out of distorted pop punk. But as they grew older, their sound polished. It retained enough garage tinge yet developed a sugary outer coating that Green Day would be proud of. After their two poppiest records for Warner Bros., Williams seemed to have had enough. He threatened to leak 2015’s V, clearly fed up by the album cycle. So now we have You’re Welcome.

Wavves—rounded out by guitarist Alex Gates, bassist Stephen Pope, and drummer Brian Hill—has released their most frustrating album yet, splitting the difference between challenging and time-tested. “Daisy” opens familiar enough with big distorted guitars and Williams’ bratty vocals. But this quickly fades. The title track, for example, plays with vocal distortion and electronics but never embraces them, setting the tone for the album. Also included are Williams’ catchy yet repetitive lyrics, which have always been a characteristic of the band. Here though, they feel overwrought, covering up for a lack of ideas. “Come to the Valley” especially, with its all too peppy vibe and obnoxious snapping, comes across gimmicky. Like they’re daring us to hate it. Well challenge accepted.

But it is Wavves. At this point, they’re seasoned veterans. “Dreams of Grandeur,” which has existed in some form for a while now, wakes the album up right before the end. Album closer “I Love You,” a doo-wop number, proves they can do something both out of character and interesting. It’s cheesy, sure, but Williams’ classic tongue-in-cheek nature makes it work. The same goes for “Hollowed Out” which finds Wavves swinging for Ty Segall’s fences.

Now exclusively on Ghost Ramp, Williams has total control of Wavves and their output. While this is ultimately a good thing for the band, right now they still seem to be in the reactionary phase, rebelling against the slick pop punk produced for Warner Bros. Ideally they’ll find a happy medium but for now we have You’re Welcome.