Review: Wax On – Sprezzatura

Experimental indie jazz rock legends Wax On are stronger than ever with their new album Sprezzatura. This entire album is very expressive and deep, yet fantastically orchestrated with an impressive wide range from the vocals. The calming atmospheric noises paints a charming story, yet still deeply surreal. The chemistry of the musicianship has a transparent inspiration of classic rock and jazz infused threw an intense wall of lo-fi delay effects. They are based out of Lowell, Massachusetts and became well established within the local music scene.

The first track, “Tucson”, starts off with a playful atmosphere behind a keyboard and a mellow voice telling me to come closer. While I close my eyes hoping to get closer, the sounds mold into a psychedelic lounge rock n’ roll groove. “Tucson” then slips into “I (February)” which is as easy to get lost in as the middle of the White Mountains. This song has a very surreal repetitive guitar tone that gives a feeling of falling forever into the vast unknown; the song is truly beautiful with the reverse effects. “The Posthumous Order & Vestige of Mother DeReckshin” blasts straight into an alternative grunge jam yet remaining true with the Wax On universe of experimental noises and effects. “II (calculated carelessness)begins with a shredding guitar solo then instantly forms into a lo-fi melody with a robotic voice. The song rapidly progresses into an isolated clean guitar with a foreign language in the background speaking off time; the orchestration sets such a mellow mood yet the open word tone in English is clear and filled with emotion.

“Lacerating the Frenula” starts off like an epic ballad, and blasts into an aggressive powerful release of emotion. There is a lot of character through all the instruments. The song even has a horn section. “Wolfsheets” flows with a mellow guitar echoing, but abruptly gets harsh and heavy as the remainder of the band comes in. There is anger in the voice as though he is betrayed by someone important to him. The sudden metal/punk verses are key factors that separate Wax On from other local bands. “III (Ho/Me)” is another wave on the Sprezzatura voyage, with a gorgeous guitar solo to start the song along with multiple layers of mysterious noise in the background to leave you wondering. It feels like a Shakespearean novel compact in a 2-minute instrumental. To end Sprezzatura is a tune called “Regrets in Stereo”, which feels like a disco rival song but in Wax On’s own dark emotional take. There seems to be so many musical influences from around the world in this one song to top off an instance musical ride. The vocals shake in loneness and despair as the instrumentals enhance the moment of this depressed feeling.

Wax On brings the raw feelings we’ve all felt and touches the listeners, as though they are having a conversation with us. The album ends the same way it begins, showing that Sprezzatura truly takes you on a voyage to a musical parallel universe with outer worldly noises, yet the roots remaining so classical in terms of alternative metal, jazz, and blues. Fans of Radiohead, Tycho, and Mac Demarco would absolutely enjoy the hallucinogenic sounds that Wax On brings. They absolutely shine a new light over Lowell.

– Paul Zulla

Featured photo by Wiley Bumtail