Published Sep 30, 2015By 2013's Afraid of Heights, Wavves' Nathan Williams had established himself as one of his generation's finest songwriters, writing hook after undeniable hook and lacing them with just enough attitude to bite. Though there's a general increase in tempo on his fifth album V, the songs, played with gusto and arranged to hit hardest at the chorus, remain as strong as ever. Even with the addition of songwriting contributions by long-time bassist Stephen Pope and guitarist Alex Gates, the verses are as memorable as the choruses on first single "Way Too Much" and the rollicking "My Head Hurts," and the thrash-y "Flamezesz" is as exhilarating as anything from 2010's scrappier King of the Beach.
Williams' lyrics, which have become perhaps just as crucial a part of the Wavves formula as his hooks, address anxiety and Millennial malaise as strongly as ever here — "Having fun when I'm alone, I don't have to put on a show," he sings on "Heavy Metal Detox," while on "Tarantula," he's "Grinding my teeth, biting my tongue, [trying] not to ruin it for everyone" — which makes for rich juxtaposition. On V, Williams is the guy nobody invited and the life of the party. (Ghost Ramp/Warner Bros.)