La La Land
Don’t Panic! Records
October 14, 2008
Wax Fang- World War II (Pt. 2)
It has been erroneously said that Wax Fang’s music is “otherworldly,” perhaps because of their Brian Eno and David Bowie fascination. No tastemaker’s descriptives can challenge the fact that neither Scott Carney’s voice nor the band’s high powered style is alien to our ears. It would not surprise me in the least if I were to turn the radio on while driving on N71 through Southwest Cork only to find Wax Fang blaring through the speakers. Carney has an imposing voice that is oddly reminiscent of a masculine Marianne Faithful. The music is a saturation of Irish invasion 70’s guitar driven rock, produced with the energy of the Pogues’ pummeling punk. The only reason I even dare to compare these magnificent musicians to anyone at all is because I have yet to read a satisfying description of the band that does not resort to non sequitur comparisons or to the false, though flattering suggestion that what they offer has never been offered before.
La La Land has the grandiosity of a carnival’s main event. Carney’s voice belts like a ring leader’s supplication to a timid crowd waiting to be brought to life by the theatrics of the Big Top. Wax Fang certainly do not lack originality, but their open display of influence is important when gaging who would or would not enjoy their music. One cannot claim Wax Fang to be a carbon copy of anything. They cleverly assemble their music on a foundation of hyper melodic power riffs and drum-line snare pops. The tired and tiring genre of indie-pop lacks Wax Fang’s controlled brashness. While keeping almost entirely away from the schizophrenia of bands like Animal Collective or The Annuals, Wax Fang exudes a vociferousness that is on par with any of indie rock’s more raucous acts. The defining aspect between Wax Fang and others would be that their brashness is contained; it is structured and constrained by their melody’s affinity for stability. The band never strives to make noise or involve themselves in cacophonous tangents that some might consider excessive, while other more discerning listeners might understand to be an unwillingness to take risks.
La La Land is a record worth the buzz that it has received. This Kentucky trio is destined to become one of the great pub rock bands of our time. If they live up to their destiny, we will soon be hearing Carney’s bravado as we down pints of Guinness. It strikes me as odd that the band does not consider their sound to be rooted abroad. I am excited to see the theatrics. When they visit NYC again I’ll certainly be there to watch the circus live. Wax Fang’s explosive energy is highly addictive. They are fist-in-the-air, scream-out-loud melody mongers whose force is focused and unapologetically deliberate. As a side note, drummer Kevin Ratterman comes to Wax Fang from his previous band Elliot, whose short lived career was extraordinarily influential to the indie scene. We are glad to know that life after Elliot can be so good.
Black & Endless Night- 2005
09/18 The 5 Spot, Nashville Tennessee
09/19 Secret Squirrel, Athens Georgia
09/20 The Earl, Atlanta Georgia
09/23 JJ’s Bohemia, Chattanooga Tennessee
09/24 The Bottletree, Birmingham Alabama
09/25 Sticky Fingerz, Little Rock Arkansas
09/26 Emo’s, Austin Texas
09/27 The Cavern Club, Dallas Texas
09/28 Hi Tone, Memphis Tennessee
09/29 Jake’s, Bloomington Indiana
10/24 Beat Kitchen, Chicago Illinois
10/26 Birdy’s Indianapolis Indiana
10/27 The Basement, Columbus Ohio
10/31 Headliner’s Music Hall, Louisville Kentucky