My first experience of Wavves‘ single ‘Afraid of Heights‘ from their new album by the same name was preceded by talk of heavy Nirvana influences, which I must admit, always makes me skeptical. I adore Nirvana. Something about them turns my otherwise pretty chill exterior into equal parts squealing fan-girl and tattooed, angst-ridden youth. So you can imagine that when people draw comparisons, my devil’s advocate wants to push them off their perch.
HOWEVER. While ‘Afraid of Heights’ is certainly reminiscent of early 90s grunge, it also has that slightly coastal vibe. Nirvana’s not far from my mind though after lyrics “I’m a creep/you drain me” (‘Negative Creep‘ and ‘Drain You‘ anyone?), and “I’m ugly/you’re boring” (“I’m so ugly, but that’s okay, ’cause so are you”). Then the repeating chorus kicks in; “I’ll always be on my own”. Disillusion, dissatisfaction, isolation, sex, drugs and rock and roll? Sounds pretty Nirvana to me. I’m slightly worried all these comparisons have jaded me from the get-go though. I can’t hear anything else now.
On it’s own merit though, ‘Afraid of Heights’ is a catchy throwback. It may run a little long at five minutes, although I enjoyed the overall momentum. The clip was solid, telling the story of two cross-dressers who manage to pick up two unwitting men at a dive bar, after which they take them back to their apartment and kill one of them. Standard Saturday night, really.
I was confused by the end of the song though. While the majority of the song was all downtrodden, abrasive, grunge-soaked rock, the ending provided a huge disconnect, and the song felt like it should have ended just before the four minute mark. It was just a lot of drums and some chill vocals which weren’t bad in and of themselves, but perhaps could have been taken out all together.
Overall, ‘Afraid of Heights’ is a pretty cool tune for your daily commute playlist, but I wouldn’t listen to it straight after your girlfriend dumps you.