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CD of The Week

Week of 7/19/21

    Wavves - Hideaway (Fat Possum)

    San Diego’s four-piece pop-rock favorites Wavves have triumphantly returned with their seventh album, Hideaway. Produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio, the album sees the group expand on their trademark sound.

    Hideaway opens with “Thru Hell,” upbeat on its surface but packs an unsuspecting lyrical punch. Like many songs of the past several years, it makes no bones about a stance on the current state of the world. “Top-down, baby, speeding to hell. Are you ok? You don’t look so well,” sings frontman Nathan Williams, casually preparing the listener for an album of subtle dichotomies and contradictions.

    The album continues with the title track, “Hideaway.” Wavves have crafted their own niche in the pop-rock space, but “Hideaway” seems to pay more of an homage to bands of the 1990s, channeling a slight Oasis sound with a sprinkle of Blur and other Britpop favorites. The homage to the alternative rock of yesteryear is also evident in the next track, “Help Is On the Way.”

    Throughout their career, Wavves have masterfully created their own sound while staying in the unassuming lane of pop-rock music. Several songs on Hideaway stay true to this sound, such as “Honeycomb” and “Marine Life,” with their distorted-yet-clean guitars mixed with Williams’ signature raspy crooning. “Honeycomb” continues the trend of mental contradictions, seemingly written about living with depression while set to a fun and upbeat tune. Lead single “Sinking Feeling” does the same with a more nuanced sound.

    Most ambitiously, Hideaway features a standout track, “The Blame.” Twangy guitars and a driving snare on the drums combine to create a southern rockabilly anthem in the vein of Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. Both Williams and Sitek are massive fans of the Man in Black and bonded extensively over his music during the recording process. Channeling this musical influence, we’re told the tale of an outlaw serving his time in prison while living up to the promise of writing to his girlfriend on the outside.

    Hideaway shows the true talent Wavves possesses - it’s not often we find a band so skillfully staying true to their roots while simultaneously experimenting with new elements. Nathan Williams and company have densely packed their latest effort with a mélange of sounds from the past 60 years while holding onto their surfer rock street cred.
    Review by Dan Baker

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