Wavves, Cargo, London

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The Independent Culture

Wavves are teetering on a lofty precipice. Headed by angsty 23-year-old singer/songwriter Nathan Williams from San Diego, on record, Wavves boast one of the most exciting sounds around. As Williams and his band take to the tiny stage under the bricked arches of Shoreditch club Cargo, they look, and sound like bratty couldn't-care-less teenagers.

The story goes that Nathan and co fell asleep before the show instead of soundchecking, so the incoherent ramblings and noise during the first ten minutes of the set was actually a tuning sesh. It's not a great omen for Wavves, who were pelted with bottles and shoes last time they spent 15 minutes soundchecking at Barcelona's Primavera Festival – before Williams went into a self-confessed drug-addled meltdown when his ex-drummer poured beer over his head and stormed off stage.

There were no such spectacles for the dense, sweaty north London crowd, but there was plenty of crowd-surfing, stage invasions and unintelligible banter. "King of the Beach" is the first real winner of the night, with its trashy Beach Boys-esque clatter prompting a mini-mosh in front of the tiny stage. Self-titled "Wavves" boasts undeniably catchy whooping underpinned by deliberate fuzzing distortion, while the cutting apathy of "So Bored" somehow manages to drag itself out of childlike hissy-fit into relevant anthemic pop-punk. "Post Acid" is a highlight, while Williams's raw, melodic bawls prove that there is more to Wavves than meets the eye.

"We are Jon Bon Jovi," proclaims bassist Stephen Pope, which is mildly chuckle-inducing the first time round. By the third time, it is difficult to resist the compulsion to throw something. However, it seems that it's this raw juvenility mixed with the plagues of adult temptation (alcohol and drugs feature heavily in Williams's words) and the sun-drenched West Coast musical influences somehow create an impressive sound.

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