No one makes angst sound quite as sunny as Wavves.
The San Diego pop-punks led by Nathan Williams even open their aptly named fifth album "V" (Warner Bros) with a list of maladies in "Heavy Metal Detox." "Have I lived too long? Why does my head hurt?" asks Williams, over crashing surf guitars that chime in somewhere between Nirvana and The Strokes.
"Pony" taps into that dizzying early '90s time frame where pop melodies and aggressive guitars could happily coexist, along with lyrics about being "Hard to express, depressed and bored."
"Flamezesz" seems like it was plucked from The Pixies' "Trompe le Monde" era, while Williams frets, "It's suicide, uh-huh, the way you walk around," over alt-rock drumming that seems like it's racing to get to the end of the song.
It's part of Williams' considerable charm that he can deliver so many sad-sack lines with so much energy that you can easily miss his point if you're not paying attention. Luckily, "V," which weighs in at a breezy 31 minutes, is geared toward repeated plays and the constant burrowing of one catchy melody after another into your subconscious.
THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE Recapturing the energy of alt-rock's heyday