Demo Review: The Waxworks Waltz: "(We) The Bisonic"

The artwork for this CD includes a fuzzy picture of a man with a giant die for a head. Marvellous. The self-titled opening track is a brooding, Kraftwerk-esque waltz and by the time it’s finished, you still don’t have a clue what this Brighton-based outfit are all about. The next track, “Live-in”, is a violent sonic assault, as an angular, offensive bass riff is periodically ripped apart by the grotesque, fingernails-against-the-blackboard howling of a lunatic. The lyrics are obscured, almost incomprehensible. This isn’t the Strokes, this is fucking great. Then something happens. “Spare me” is a mediocre, Coral-esque winge (“tell me/are you all you want to be?”), after which the album degenerates into MOR college rock-by-numbers. Think Blind Melon, Counting Crows. At times, such as on “Throwaway Comment” (with its bittersweet refrain: “I don’t need anyone/at all”) the music is emotive to the point of a poignancy so that you can forgive the fact that it isn’t exactly groundbreaking. In general, however, there’s enough reliable, inoffensive rock here to suggest that commercial success is a realistic possibility. In the age of Volkswagen Rock, a lot of the filler in this album will have A & R men licking their lips. Oh and there’s even a couple of ballads (“Under a Red Rosebush”, “Sleepyhead”). This is the sound of a band in a sort of identity crisis; this album has the hallmarks of Radiohead’s piss-poor debut “Pablo Honey”, where a band clearly capable of better things found themselves undermined by the confines of formulaic moderate rock. The Waxworks Waltz are unsigned, and they’re at a crossroads.

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