Fat Possum Records
For Wavves’ seventh LP ‘Hideaway’, chief protagonist Nathan Williams opted to reset and return to his roots. Firstly Williams decamped to a small shed behind his parents’ house to noodle over ideas that would eventually become his new album. The same location that spawned some of Wavves’ earlier work when the project was in its infancy. Secondly, after growing disillusioned with being caught up in the major record label machine, Williams finds himself back at Fat Possum, the label that put out the seminal ‘King of the Beach’ and two eponymous LPs, and arguably the place the helped launch Wavves into the public consciousness.
‘Hideaway’ is a short and snappy, sub-30 minute romp through the rougher end of pop punk and garage rock, with urgency and infectious hooks its modus operandi. Tucked away among the raw anthemics, you’ll find Williams attempting to take stock of his life and the world around him, as he comes to the conclusion he can be his own worst enemy, while recognising there are some exterior toxic elements he needs to eliminate. Like all great pop music, Wavves have managed to hit perfect juxtaposed balance between upbeat sonic catchiness and lyrical themes that lean closer to pain, frustration and anxiety.
Right out the gate charges ‘Thru Hell’, a boisterous opener that’s coated in fuzz and a strung out immediacy. Through the rollicking drums and ragged jangle, Williams chimes “can’t talk now I’m going through hell/can’t see straight/I don’t feel so well/starring at all these hideous people”, which sets the tone for the rest of the album’s narrative, as Williams wrestles with his own mental state and unwanted third party influences. Following quickly on from ‘Thru Hell’s coattails is the album’s title track, which keeps the energy levels high and sprinkles a little bit of optimism on the melancholy. The glimmers of positivity shine via “today could be anything I want it to be/and that’s gonna be a reflection of me”, proving that you can be the master of your own destiny. However, just when you think Williams might be looking on the brighter side of life, he hits you with “they say the grass is greener on the other side/but I know the truth is that everything dies/the field looks so pretty but it’s covered in land mines”. ‘Honeycomb’ dials down the raucousness that kicks off ‘Hideaway’ for something that shimmers and ripples with an acoustic sway. Again, like sonic a Trojan Horse, the song’s carefree nature is a smokescreen for Williams’ anxiety “I feel like I’m dying/it’s cool/it’s great/just pretend I’m ok” with the calmness of a man who’s numbed himself to the world to prevent a panic attack.
While ‘Hideaway’ champions a rambunctious take on ragged rock ‘n’ roll, this doesn’t stop Williams from dipping his toe into other sonic waters. ‘The Blame’ shimmies and shakes with a country twang, where it’s washboard-esque boom-clack delivers feel good vibes with one hand but on the other, serves up downbeat tones, as Williams murmurs “I am not the only one who knows/where there’s darkness/something always grows”. ‘Sinking Feeling’ writhes with a devilish, trippy 60s vibe that invokes lava lamps and the smouldering funk of incense sticks. The biggest departure comes via ‘Hideaway’s closing track ‘Caviar’; a song that adopts a wooziness that borders on jazzy space funk. Organs moan, Williams’ vocals yearn and strain at times, while sounding dreamy and soothing elsewhere, as he muses “who will hold you ‘til you’re better/I don’t care if we’re together”. It’s a fitting end to an album that’s fuelled by a pent up, nervous energy, as it feels like all the tension found on the previous 8 tracks dissolves as ‘Caviar’ unfurls with a melancholic beauty.
With ‘Hideaway’, Williams has created a safe space to escape to when shit gets real, both for him and his devoted followers.
Pre-order Hideaway by Wavves HERE