With it’s reminiscently ’90s punk vibe, Wavves’s new album V presents everything listeners hate to love about angsty rock. The album opens with “Heavy Metal Detox,” which includes classic dissonant, yet upbeat chords that are vaguely reminiscent of MTV’s Daria theme song. The song sets a hopeful tone for the album with the lyrics “I believe we’re not alone,” creating a sense of community between those also living in an angst-filled, dream-like hellscape. The strong instrumentals and vocals tie together nicely and set the album off to a strong start. The harsh sound of the electric guitar is prominent throughout the album, but the finesse in the percussion section is really brought out in the song “Pony,” where drum hits punctuate key moments and tambourine shakes fill silence.
Wavves’ familiar punk sounds persist until the song “My Head Hurts” rolls around, when an unexpectedly harsh guitar interlude interrupts the song. This interlude introduces a tonal switch in the album from upbeat angst to more scratchy guitar solos and scratchy vocals. The next song, “Redlead,” leads right into this new tone. In a clever bonding of lyrics and style, the line “broken and inane” is repeated, making the listener anxious in the anticipation of when the repetition will end. The protagonist seems to have lost himself, ending this song—and the rest of the songs in the album—with discombobulated fade outs, contrasting the previous strong endings.
The next few songs, “Heart Attack,” “Flamezesz,” and “Wait,” blend together in generic wavves of angst and sadness. The disappointing lull finally comes to an end when the album’s original tone comes back with a bang in the album’s penultimate song, “Tarantula.” The album’s finale creeps up behind “Tarantula” with a slower intro, but it slowly meshes into a complete reiteration of the entire album smashed into one song. There is a combination of dreaminess, screaming, edgy guitar riffs, and dissonant sounds that is suggestive of the resolving montage at the end of a movie.