(4 out of 5)
For a guy supposedly grappling with the after-effects of a hype supernova and various inner demons, Nathan Williams sure can crank out a head-spinning sugar-rush of pop songs. KING OF THE BEACH doesn’t exactly mark a sharp left turn beyond the lo-fi surf-rock of Wavves’ first two albums, but there’s definitely a more focused kineticism to the noise that Williams and his (brand-new) band dish out. The cloud of self-conscious fuzziness has dissipated a bit, as Williams updates his Jesus and Mary Chain fever dream to make a more declarative and precise statement. Now, the exact content of that statement is still a little unclear — although on “Green Eyes” he comes pretty close, yowling “I don’t give a shit” — but what is undeniable is that Williams has had a few cups of coffee, and rescued the hooks and bravado that he had previously buried under piles of distortion. Oh yeah, there are still fuzzbombs dropping all over KING OF THE BEACH, but they’re deployed with a clear joyfulness (see the sappy “Baby Say Goodbye,” or the adrenaline-squeal of “Super Soaker”) that makes the album much easier to digest than either of Wavves’ previous work. While that ease makes some of the group’s earlier appeal wane a bit – there is precious little adventurousness here – it also makes for a deeply enjoyable bit of summertime fun.
First appeared July 13, 2010 at Shockhound.com.