Wavves’ aptly named fifth album V is nothing less than what you would expect of the band. It’s the same Wavves you know and love, with front man Nathan Williams chanting his way through a soundtrack of a post-teenage breakdown with undertones of optimism. He vocalises his inner conflicts and self-doubts throughout, but in an unexpectedly upbeat and confident tone.
This idea is epitomized in the hook “It gets better, it better”, in ‘Pony’ the third track, unashamedly asserting an endearing uncertainty in a way that you can’t help but smile at. Of course Williams’ nasal vocal style is similar to that of the band’s earlier albums, but V separates itself with its unapologetic hooks, which you’ll find running through your head endlessly. It might be because of the recklessly paranoid words like “I’m more insane each day, but I’ll be ok” from ‘All The Same’ resonating with every listener, or maybe the endless major to minor chord transitions, but this album bulldozes its way forward, making going mad seem like a great time.
Every detail is a reminder that this isn’t just another pop record, this is a Wavves record; the same people who made King of the Beach 5 years ago. It’s the same Wavves, but this time they know what they want to say and how to say it. If what they want to talk about is the influence of The Psychedelic Furs with a faster tempo. There’s something about a man who announces “I lost my job today but it’s all the same”, as Williams does in ‘All The Same’ which you can’t help but appreciate. V is 11 tracks worth of up-tempo, downbeat music so contradictory it makes perfect sense.