Wavves: Afraid of Heights

Mom + Pop Music

Though uptempo and drenched in hooks, Afraid of Heights expresses more of the grating, whiskey-rotted ennui that has given depth to Nathan Williams' juvenile persona since his emergence in 2008. Crafted with former Jay Reatard (R.I.P.) bassist Stephen Pope, Wavves' fourth album is mostly devoid of Williams' signature noise and beach elements, and therefore comes off as a direct simulation of '90s grunge and pop punk. While standing up next to the catchiest of Weezer, Nirvana, and Green Day, Wavves takes on a much darker reality here: a dead-end spiral of apathy and addiction. "Holding a gun to my head so send me an angel or bury me deeply instead with demons to lean on," Williams sings, though not despairingly at all. (3 out of 5 stars)