As Wavves encounter the many opportunities to be wrung out by adulthood, they’ve managed to tweak their sound from their fuzz-bathed, MTV-and-LSD sunny punk King of the Beach days to the oh-shit-responsibility turns of Afraid of Heights (the latter of which, while ripping off Nirvana, Green Day and Weezer a bit too much, had its fair share of hits. Still, it all fit snugly in their consistently improving signature aura. And regardless of whatever judgment critics like myself pass upon them, they always hit their marks in a few spots. So the anticipation behind V was high — and its hits definitely don’t disappoint.

Sure, it’s not particularly original. The guitars are all squarely pop-punk, the drums are all surf rock clean and the occasional cameo of the “Be My Babybeat appears. But lyricist Nathan Williams’ ability to write a ludicrously catchy hook has hit a new peak, particularly on the album’s singles.

V covers similar ground to …Heights: possible (nay, likely) nods to addiction, paranoia, a general sinking feeling that your chickens are coming home to roost with a side of nihilism about the whole affair. He also divorces himself from “toxic” friends (“Cry Baby” [LISTEN], “Tarantula” [LISTEN]), retreats from the scene for his own mental health (“Heavy Metal Detox” [LISTEN]), and then, on easily the catchiest track of the album, he does all of the above on what sounds like a puppy love song [LISTEN]:

My Head Hurts

Is that aimed at the object of his affection? Given the distinction between “she” and “you,” it could be more of a “Semi-Charmed Kind of” intoxicant metaphor. Do the lung and vein drug references represent infatuation, or the other way around? The confusion alone makes it pretty clever. Either way, it’s still either the hookiest listenable track of the year or the best ultra-pop song of the year.

No matter the meaning, this could fit on the radio. It’d probably have done better on that format in the summer, because surf-pop doesn’t mesh as well with pumpkin spice everything. But to the surprise of no one you can thank Warner Brothers for that not happening.

This might be less of a hidden gems album than its predecessor, although the record’s in-betweens are solid as well. Instead, this is more of a bright, shiny piece of shimmering pop.