sun 01/08/2021

Album: Wavves - Hideaway | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Wavves - Hideaway

Album: Wavves - Hideaway

Ripped and torn emotions as pop-punks return to roots

Wavves’ Nathan Williams found you can go home again. Following a deteriorating decade on a major label, and 2017’s raucous retrenchment You’re Welcome (2017), the punk-pop Californians have returned to their first label, Fat Possum.

Williams then wrote Hideaway in his parents’ shed, where Wavves’ first records were taped.

The need for safety and care suggested by a 35-year-old retreating to his childhood home plays out in this seventh album, where standing fast against buffeting waves of fear and self-loathing often seems progress enough. Hideaway feels like a breakup album, written when pain and resentment has wholly replaced the woman concerned, and a purging response to a degree of depression. Thanks to TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek’s production, it’s also a brightly intimate and intricate, concise restatement of strengths. Where the previous Californian generation’s punk-pop figureheads, Green Day, have expanded into politics and musicals, Wavves are progressing with more mutedly fiery, near miniature craft.

Opener “Thru Hell” is widescreen and wild, its whiplash guitar solo smothered by a heavy punk groove. “Hideaway” clears sonic space for Williams’ chastened, suspicious perspective: “Today could be anything I want it to be/But I know the truth, it’s gonna be a reflection of me/So I should be careful of everything I see.” “Help Is On the Way” hovers between suicide and salvation, Williams swimming against the music’s tide, till a weird, quiet middle-eight of emaciated post-Beach Boys harmonies and ambivalent strings.

“Sinking Feeling” heads deeper into both fought despair and Wavves’ musical hinterland, its Californian noir relieved by the English guitar mystery of, say, Echo & the Bunnymen’s Will Sergeant, its tense groove met by a gentle vocal. “Honeycomb” is all hazed, burnished jangle, the Velvet Underground’s numb bliss lit by San Diego sun, even as Williams wonders if he really needed the fingers that just dropped off, and underlying paralysis drags at the chorus.

“The Blame” is Beatlesque, pill-popping country meant to evoke The Replacements, “Caviar” Suicide’s icy idea of doowop, all glacial synths, glistening chimes, and a singer blasting a girl even as he asks: “Hold me tightly till I’m drownin’”. Hideaway is modestly of a piece, ambitious only in its musical open mind and intransigently torn point of view.

'Help Is On the Way' hovers between suicide and salvation, Williams swimming against the music’s tide

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3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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