Straight from the dungeons of L.A., Wavves are releasing Afraid Of Heights,
their fourth album and first on the Mom And Pop label. Now a duo consisting of
guitarist Nathan Williams and bassist Stephen Pope, they sound bigger, brasher,
and shockingly professional than ever on Afraid Of Heights that positions the
band to take their rightful place amongst the pop-punk gods.You know the story
by now. Bored dude in his parents' tool shed-turned-room with no insulation
and a record stuck to a hole in the wall to keep the mice out turns on a four-
track recorder, fucks around and ends up with two of the oddest, noisiest and
downright catchy albums of recent memory. Those two records (the eponymous
Wavves the eponyymous Wavvves) were winningly, messily chaotic—grand on a
small scale, but not necessarily world-beaters. Which is why when Williams, then
solo, linked up with erstwhile Jay Reatard sidemen Stephen Pope (bass) and
Billy Hayes (drums) and busted the door down with the stunner that was King Of
The Beach, a pop-punk blackout for the DeLonge and Deleuze crowd. After the
smoke of King Of The Beach had cleared, Williams and Pope released the Life
Sux EP, a testament to the crushing powers of rock n' roll and also ennui. The
product of more than a year of writing and recording, Afraid Of Heights expands
the Wavves sound while remaining true to the band's original vision—it was
created with absolutely no label involvement, a specter that nearly derailed King
Of The Beach. Working with producer John Hill (known for his work with M.I.A.
and Santigold, as well as with hip-hop acts such as Nas and the Wu-Tang Clan),
the band found a willing party in creating what they felt was the truest expression
of what they wanted. As for the Afraid Of Heights sessions themselves, Williams
paid for them out-of-pocket, explaining his reasoning with, "In doing so, I had
no one to answer to. We recorded the songs how and when we wanted without
anybody interfering, and that's how it's supposed to be."

Lyrically, Williams took the focus less off of his own melancholy and out
into the world, with songs that dealt with crooked preachers ("Sail To The
Sun"), relationships ("Dog") and killing cops ("Cop"). Even when he reaches
outside his own damaged psyche, Williams is still making Wavves songs,
saying, "The general theme of the record is depression and anxiety, being
death-obsessed and paranoid of impending doom. I feel like the narration is
almost schizophrenic if you listen front to back; every word is important, even the
constant contradictions and lack of self-worth. That's all a part of this record—
questioning everything not because I'm curious, but because I'm paranoid."
That paranoia manifests itself on many of the album's best tracks, such as the
spacey drones and bummazoid vibes of the Weezer-referencing, getting-drunk-
because-you-can't-bring-yourself-to-care-vibey "Afraid Of Heights," or the string-
aided "I Can't Dream," which rounds the record out with the optimistic, "I can
finally sleep," before subverting itself with, "But I can't dream." With their biggest
and boldest-sounding record yet, Wavves might have finally come into their own,
a fully-realized punk rock force in both sound and vision.