Likening British guitar bashers Male Bonding to Wavves is a reasonable reaction upon hearing the hooky, short-fused punk of Endless Now, but associating the London-based threesome to a band so synonymous with "right now" is, upon closer inspection, a flawed assessment. In reality, the album is full of 90s signifiers--from Blink-182's four-chord progressions to Nirvana's fuzz pedals--but these elements have become so ingrained in the fabric of indie rock that it's difficult to pinpoint any one specific time they represent, and the band doesn't necessarily seem fixated on nostalgia, at least not intentionally. The first half of "What's That Scene" is a race against itself, or maybe adulthood, with galloping drums and guitars played so hastily they're on the verge of collapse. Eventually, though, they take a breather to draw out the line "Everything I have done, everything went wrong" against spacey guitar skuzz. These sounds and sentiments are the groundwork of indie rock; it's what the genre returns to when it can't figure out where to go next.
To add to the record's at-the-crossroads feel, the vocals coming from guitarist John Arthur Webb are affected with a far-away wistfulness, giving rise to a shoegaze-like smear. Compared to the happy surprise that was their 2010 debut, the guys spent eternity in the studio—a whole week this time—clearing enough cobwebs to enter mid-fi territory. The melodies may require a few more spins to fully emerge, but when push comes to shove, these 11 tracks will likely sound as good 10 years from now as they do today, and that's something we should be worried about with a lot of the nostalgia-grasping albums everyone's so excited about.