Here's an incontrovertible theory for you to agree with: anyone who doesn't like loud music is OLD and BORING. Of course, I first developed and proposed this subtly nuanced hypothesis when I was a) young and b) incredibly excited by music that involved as much overwrought amplification and obnoxiousness as possible. But even as I've grown up (a bit) and matured (a little), I can't quite bring myself to admit the underlying premise is in any way flawed. Sure, these days I tend to listen to music that's more muted, understated, and fragile, but I'm also developing an ulcer and a beer gut. Aren't all these things just so many signs of middle-aged tedium and fast-approaching death?
So thank the gods of noise for the arrival of Wavves in my life to shake things up a bit. When I first heard their track "So Bored" earlier this year, several questions popped into my blown mind at once: Is it supposed to sound like this? Can I turn it up any louder without my neighbors calling the cops? And what did I do in a previous life to deserve this beautiful experience? Featuring a primitive drumbeat and more crazy feedback and distortion than the comments section of FOXNews.com, it grabbed hold of my inner teenager and refused to let go. "I'm SOOOOOOO bored," drawls Nathan Williams like a spoiled child, over a tumult that had me reaching for the "screaming wall of noise" section of my well-thumbed rock thesaurus.
It's easily the standout track from their almost-self-titled album Wavvves (note the third "v") released back in March. But the rest of the collection doesn't disappoint either, as long as you feel no fear about tinnitus. "Beach Demon," with its wonderful, nihilistic chorus of "going nowhere, going nowhere," sounds like a crappy bootleg of the Ramones being blasted out of a Fisher Price record player way past its recommended volume, but in a good way. The sole ballad (and I'm using the term "ballad" loosely here) "Weed Demon" resurrects the ghosts of Pixies moments past, particularly the creepy bottom-of-the-sea howls that bookend "Where Is My Mind?" And "Gun In The Sun" picks up the fucked-up surf-rock baton from wherever the Jesus and Mary Chain carelessly dropped it sometime in the late eighties.
With song titles including enough mentions of "goths" and "demons" to fill a teenage girls' bookshelf, as well as a couple of "kids" and "punx" thrown in for good measure, it's easy to see the age demographic Wavves are aiming for. It makes an old fart like me nostalgic for a time when my world was also ruled by antisocial music and parental curfews. Of course, things have changed a bit since then, particularly the invention of MP3s and me feeling less guilty about skipping Wavves' more "experimental" moments. Then again, the album is only 36 minutes long without cheating, so there really isn't much time for anyone's patience to be tested too much. Even if it makes your stereo sound like it's broken, it isn't going to actually break your stereo. Not unless you turn it up REALLY LOUD.