Thursday, January 16, 2014

"The Astronaut" by Wax Fang

How many bands can you name that hail from Louisville, KY? Aside from half of the Black Diamond Heavies, for me, it's none. However, for your consideration, we have a band from Louisville, KY. When I think of Louisville, there are two things that come to mind: The now defunct-ish Louisville Redbirds and Big Red Soda on the fountain. (Hey, it's my blog.)

The music scene isn't what comes to mind for me, but honestly, the music scene in most smaller cities, like my own, don't really spring to mind. Obviously that's not fair.

Every city can't have several vibrant music scenes like Los Angeles and New York, but I refuse to have City envy. I love my big small city or small big city...however you want to look at. This band was brought to my attention by their management. They sent me an email to see if I'd check out their latest project, "The Astronaut." Here we are so I think you can tell that my answer was yes.

This is a band that's really starting to gain some traction. Conan O'Brien  has been showing their videos and their music was featured in an American Dad episode. That my friends, is totally cool.

So, this record is a three part Space-Rock Opera. Sounds pretty out there, but they certainly have my ear.

My first impression is that of a band who really learned at the University of Pink Floyd and they certainly got an A in the SNGWR 1002: Writing Songs Like The Floyd back during the acid days. That probably sounds like a dig, but it's not. Wax Fang are clearly influenced by early Pink Floyd without aping them.

There are five tracks on the album: three long movements and two interludes.This reminds me of The Floyd's albums leading up to Darkside where there were no more than six songs on a 45 minute album. Long songs, when done right are are spectacular, but when done wrong, are horrific! (A couple of Electric Wizard's tracks come to mind there.) Thankfully, there is nothing of the latter sort here.

The songs are long, sprawling, emotive, and largely instrumental. This isn't a standard concept record, or Space Rock Opera, where the singer sings the story to the listener. It's narrative music. The songs inspired more images to me than the sparse vocals did.

Musically speaking, they could be described as psychedelic, experimental, progressive, Pink Floydian (if that's a thing, and if not, it is now), and any number of other adjectives. I view this band as just different. There are far more instruments than the standard guitar, bass guitar, and drums. There are sparse vocals. There are some very unusual sounds, but unlike many Pink Floyd tunes, it always remains rather musical.

If Coheed & Cambria had a baby with Pink Floyd, we'd be about half way to what Wax Fang is. This is a band that really sounds like no other and the fact that I have to tell you about their upcoming record is criminal.

"The Astronaut" succeeds on nearly every level imaginable. The biggest problem I had was I couldn't get my stereo to play it loud enough to convey all of the grandiosity.

This album will be released on Jan 28th digitally and on vinyl. Buy it.

Year: 2014
Genre: Metal (?)

1) The Astronaut: Part 1
2) The Event Horizon
3) The Astronaut: Part 2
4) The Singularity
5) The Astronaut: Part 3

Preorder the record here..


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