WAVVES play the Horseshoe on April 5 and the Commons @ Butler’s Barracks on August 3. See listings. Rating: NNN
Would the Wavves story have turned out differently had Nathan Williams's early lo-fi home recordings not been sucked up into a vortex of hype no human could possibly live up to? We'll never know, of course, and so everything he releases ends up being measured against that early promise. Unfortunately, his current work isn't nearly as remarkable as we'd hoped.
Still, Afraid Of Heights doesn't suck. When its pop-punk melodies rub up against off-kilter production techniques, it's genuinely exciting, but those moments pass quickly. Most of the album sounds like Nirvana - if Kurt had been a pothead instead of a junky - mixed with a sloppier, less geeky version of Weezer. Fine, but not the most thrilling or unique approach to rock 'n' roll in 2013. Surprisingly, the least punk moments are the most adventurous.
Williams supposedly revisited old demos in preparation for making Afraid Of Heights, and that's reflected in the inconsistencies. He sounds like an artist trying to remember who he actually is. Let's hope he'll have a clearer idea next time.
Top track: Dog