The sixth studio album You’re Welcome from the San Diego rock group Wavves will be the band’s first release since V and the 2015 collaborative effort No Life for Me with the Cloud Nothings.
This twelve song album has a lot of momentum. It’s a quick listen for a full-length with only one song clocking in over four minutes.
It begins with “Daisy,” introduced by a warbling slap-back infused guitar line that is almost satirical, and evolves into a driving two-chord verse section. The song culminates into the classic explosive and poppy style you would expect from Wavves, with a few softer more delicate interludes. This introductory song hints at a broader sense of adventurous experimentation that is prevalent throughout the record.
The title track is second on the list. This song is unique from a lyrical standpoint —most songs don’t peak into a refrain thanking the listeners, or whoever the song was written for. This song does. Nathan Williams sings, “You don’t gotta mention it / Don’t gotta mention it / You’re Welcome / Welcome.”
While previous Wavves albums aren’t afraid to delve into experimentation, You’re Welcome seems to showcase the evolving songwriting and production capabilities without worrying about coloring outside of the lines. Comparable albums with a similar degree of innovation in post-production would be Beck’s Midnite Vultures and later works by Trent Reznor. You could literally spend hours picking apart the layers of each song.
“No Shade,” is one of the shortest but most memorable songs on the album. The syncopated rhythm section offsets the whole feel of the tune, but this also makes the verse melody and refrain memorable after only a couple of listens. It is in the same vein as a song like Zappa’s “Preachers in Regalia” —essentially a rhythmically intricate song that is also somehow catchy despite its oddness. It’s hard to know whether the lyrics are about a sense of inner-peace based on there being “no shade,” (or bad vibes, man) or if it’s hinting at an environmental issue.
It seems apparent that the band wrote different songs with different instruments in mind. In “Million Enemies” it seems probable that the song was originally written or inspired by the bass line which drives the entire song, along with the synthesizers. Williams sings, “another identical verse / Asking what is wrong and it will only make things worse.” Although some of the lyrical content on this record appears somewhat self-conscious, Williams and the rest of the band seem to be a lot more comfortable with themselves, and write with much more conviction and ease than in earlier records.
“Hollowed Out” is a short succinct gem of a tune. While maintaining funk and R&B roots, The climactic dynamic shifts into the refrain make it both psychedelic and infectiously catchy.
“Come to the Valley” starts off with the warbling of carnival music. This approach is reminiscent of the experimental ant avant-garde approach of Pet Sounds or The Beatles (White Album).
From gutter punk to top forty pop-rock hits, we all love a tune that starts off with a simple, catchy and aggressive bass line. This rings true with “Animal,” showing that Wavves still has a special knack for taking a very simple musical idea and turning it inside out. The accompanying vocal melodies, harmonies and synth lines show you how far they can stretch the musical imagination. Williams sings, “The whole world covered in gasoline.”
“Stupid in Love” almost feels like a concept song. The buried instrumentation and distorted vocals seem to help back the idea of a distorted perspective of self-indulgent infatuation. The prevailing refrain, with its sugary backing vocals almost seems to be an after-thought.
“Dreams of Grandeur” is probably the hit single from the album. It combines enough traditionalist tropes along with Wavves signature unpredictability and experimentation to remain familiar while staying different and interesting. This is the song you will wake up with it stuck in your head.
“I Love You” is almost a classic John Lennon style ballad. Even more Beatlesque is the fact that the song seems to mutate into a second coda section at the end, likening it to a 21st-century version of something you would find on the second side of Abbey Road.
Overall this album showcases a band’s development in the most traditional sense. Similar to how the Beatles or Brian Wilson began expanding into uncharted territory, Wavves seems to be doing something similar. While the album has the signature Wavves sound, the songwriting and production is taking on a sophistication that only comes with a progressing level of musical maturity. This is something that seems to divide one hit wonders or pop-icons, which ultimately fade into the back pages of history, with actual musicians that take their art seriously.
The biggest question is that due to the experimental and extensively produced nature of this record, how do they plan to reproduce this live? It would either take extensive sequencing or perhaps a few more players on stage to get the full effect present on the album.