Published on September 21st, 2021

Wavves by Gilles Okane

No matter how you say Wavves — straight ahead or with a slight lull over the double-v so a little bit of static forms on your lips — their blended style of rock ’n’ roll is as infectious today as it was when they first blipped on the radar 13 years ago.

And it’s been quite a ride for San Diego singer-songwriter and guitarist Nathan Williams and company. With a public meltdown receded in Williams’ rearview and a not-so-happy split with major label Warner Bros. done, Wavves are minding their music. “Hideaway,” their seventh and latest album, is another satisfying blend of pop, bubblegum punk, surf and mid-aughts alternative rock.

It’s fun if not heady and it makes you want to bop around. It’s “what happens when you get old enough to take stock of the world around you and realize that no one is going to save you but yourself,” as they explain in their album biography. They might think it a move into maturity but in reality, the album captures that youthful energy that propels rock ’n’ roll.

On “Hideaway,” Williams, Stephen Pope, Alex Gates and TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, who produced and contributed synths and guitars, drive through nine solid rockers. While there are tinges of dreamy surf rock strewn about, the writing veers more into the punk areas they’ve explored before — maybe even in a more gruff manner. It’s good, and pushes the fun along with a sense of urgency.

Maybe that’s because Williams is contemplating the aforementioned troubles — explicitly in the opener, “Thru Hell.” But the punch-up job the track does to set up pace and tonality works as detoxifier for him while keeping the song approachable. There’s no gloom and/or doom here – when there could be.

Sinking Feeling” and “Help is on the Way” were the singles floated this past spring ahead of the album’s release in mid-July. By the time the “Hideaway” bookends with “Caviar,” you’re ready for its airy, almost introspective coda. Shit, maybe they really have grown up after all. If it turns out they haven’t, at least they’re walking towards it.

Wavves play The Ground Miami on October 14. https://wavves.net ~ Abel Folgar