on vinyl for the first time - The second release in three months from Wavves' Nathan Williams and his brother Joel "Kynan" is altogether a more impressive and diverse endeavor than its enjoyable but slight predecessor.
Eternal Champ is the second release Wavves' Nathan Williams and his brother Joel "Kynan" have put out in the past three months, and it's initially unclear as to what it "means" for Sweet Valley. Are we to take it as a sign of commitment to the project, especially in light of the two-plus years that have passed since Wavves' King of the Beach? Or is it an indication that the Williams brothers can just crank this stuff out like it's nothing? As an actual piece of music, Eternal Champ mostly just reminds you that Nathan's proven to have a quick learning curve. While it doesn't parallel the leap he made from Wavvves to King of the Beach (or even Wavves to Wavvves for that matter), it's a more impressive, diverse, and genuinely artistic endeavor than its enjoyable but slight predecessor.
Eternal Champ feels more like a proper full-length, where Stay Calm was presented as a incomplete-by-definition "beat tape." In addition to a generally darker tone, this album just sounds heavier. It delves into slower tempos and chillier textures, and the segues feel as important as the tracks proper.
Sweet Valley may not be particularly original but they do show a knack for knowing when to mix styles and when to collate: Lead-off "One" has impressive range, morphing from the more stoned iterations of late-90s southern hip-hop to Three 6 Mafia's fight music. It bleeds right into "Where Will I Go", which throws in Lex Luger's trademark lightcycle windup before drifting off into the tropics. From there on out, the Williams brothers set their sights on clear targets and hit the mark. Their style doesn't stray far from the blazer's choice of hip-hop producers-- Clams Casino ("Stone"), Dilla ("Bros Beyond", "Sentimental Trash"), recent Alchemist. The vocal sample on "Motorcycle Renegade" is similar enough to Action Bronson and Party Supplies' "Thug Love Story 2012", to suggest that Eternal Champ was probably only a few months in the making, but the adaptability is admirable.
|A2||Where Will I Go||2:33|
|B3||The Great Bay Shrines||4:05|
|B4||Into The Forest||1:39|