Wavves / Life Sux EP / Ghost Ramp
Nathan Williams is an artist. Though many criticize the San Diego native for being an erratic stoner fond of controversy, that green stuff and The Price Is Right outtakes, he’s just like Phil Collins or any other classic rocker who preferred debauchery and joy rides instead of staying inside a hotel room and watching Casablanca, and that’s an angle often ignored. Disregard the media-generated antics and it’s easy to see – Life Sux is Wavves best work to date. The extended play does only clock in at six tracks but the set spills out those odd characteristics and reckless abandon that made Williams’ first two efforts independent hallmarks and King Of The Beach a summer gem. To sabotage this perspective that’s rolled with a fan-girl approach, Life Sux strikes a very loud chord due to the group’s growth as instrumentalists. While the EP is a biological bro to King Of The Beach, it stretches boundaries you never knew Wavves had – example, “Bug” rolls with Williams calling a buzzkill a “burned out zombie” and pushes out a sharp surf rock riff that develops the song’s character.
The concise approach laced throughout kills as “I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl” sees a vocal melody swing with Jacob Cooper’s shots at the drum kit and “Destroy” flings itself at you with despair, an outbreak of skate punk and Fucked Up’s Damien Abraham uncaging his growl. As you’d expect with Wavves, Life Sux never loses momentum or focus for that matter; “Poor Lenore”, a hazy In Utero-cut, slows the disc down but resonates even more with Stephen Pope’s bass and Williams’ brainwashing vocals that glue to the inside of your skull. The real highlight of the 20 minute piece is the so-called duet with Best Coast. Whereas one would imagine the love between the two musicians to manifest some sort of romantic lo-fi ballad, “Nodding Off” rips hard with driving guitars and Williams’ singing tenderly to the swoon of Bethany Cosentino before indie rock fret work intervenes and mutilates your senses with rhythmic bliss. To the avid supporter, Life Sux is the EP they expected filled with raw talent they didn’t see coming. Nathan Williams isn’t a changed man, he’s just more aware of where he’s headed. If this release is any indication, his Nevermind is coming, and the world will definitely know when it storms through the front door.
Download: “Nodding Off”, “Poor Lenore”, “Bug”
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