When Wavves first crashed onto the scene in 2008, they immediately made a name for themselves as druggie surf rockers. Their beachy spin on lo-fi noise-pop helped them rise to notoriety within the indie-rock world. Last summer’s King of the Beach assisted in cementing them into the music scene, becoming a legitimate group whose days of ecstasy-spurred on-stage fights were behind them. The new EP, Life Sux, further shows the rocker’s range while continuing down the path of being a punk who isn’t trying to impress anyone.
Life Sux is the debut release on frontman Nathan Williams’ own label, Ghost Ramp, since leaving Fat Possum. The EP features song collaboration with members of Fucked Up, and with his real-life girlfriend Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast. As such, it shows a sort of multi-faceted approach to Wavves, while still maintaining the surfer punk.
The album opener of “Bug”, a long-time live show favorite, presents the more punk-rock side of Wavves while still staying true to their surf roots. In the same punk-rock vein, “Poor Lenore” is one of the grungier tracks on the EP. “I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl” starts off nicely melodic with a catchy chorus, though is a little less surfery than you’d expect. Professing the desire to meet (and be) the iconic rocker, Williams conveys a sense of perseverance and confidence in his own music.
“Nodding Off” is just as beachy as you’d expect a collab with Best Coast to be. It sounds like something off of King of the Beach, but more refined and therefore, more accessible. This song is easily the best of the EP, presenting a stronger, catchier side of Best Coast and lighter side of Wavves. The album wraps up with “Destroy”, which kicks off with heavy drums and gnarly vocals, but eventually subsides to relying heavily on the Fucked Up influence — which is not a bad thing.
One repeating element on this EP is just that: repetition. In both “I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl” and “Destroy”, Williams ends up repeating the same line over and over again. While this has worked in the past for purposes of being somewhat catchier, it just seems overdone in this short of a compilation. However, I cannot deny Williams’ catchy hooks and self-deprecating lyrics that make you want to jump and scream in the sand. This may not be their best, and it is certainly not a maturation into being a serious artiste, but Wavves did what they do best: hooky surf rock that just doesn’t give a damn.