Wax Fang | The Astronaut (Absolutely Kosher Records)

WaxFang 75Carney has crafted a rich, lush, and epic tale here.

WaxFang 500

Sadly in this day and age, it is not too often you see what could be dubbed a “headphone” album. For those not familiar with that concept, it’s an album that is made to really be listened to with same damn good over the ears headphones. Like the ones Mitch throws on at the end of “Dazed And Confused” when he goes on his slow riiiiiiiiide. Louisville, KY’s Wax Fang have constructed just such an album. Yes it is a great album over a stereo or in a car turned up, but man this is meant to be played in some big clunky headphones. Try it, you will agree.

Wax Fang have been around since 2005 and initially gained a small following due to their friendship with and as touring partners for My Morning Jacket. In fact, they opened for the Jacket when they played the Pageant on November 20, 2006. They are an incredible live band and really put their heart into their work. Don’t believe me, spin this approved bootleg. They are great and the banter and shenanigans are pretty damn funny (https://archive.org/details/WF2007-01-19.nashville) Since forming they have put out 2 LP’s; 2006’s Black & Endless Night and 2007’s La La Land (phenomenal album) and toured extensively including doing a few special shows where they covered Prince’s Purple Rain in its entirety. When this did this the general response to this was “Holy Shit that was incredible.” They also started work on The Astronaut. Band leader Scott Carney has also recently scored the music to the 150th episode to TV’s American Dad. My Morning Jacket did an episode and their popularity exploded after that. So fingers crossed here.

The tracks for The Astronaut were originally released in 2010 as singles. Having heard them then I was blown away. Fast forward to now, and they are officially being released as an LP. Thankfully. This is just a fantastic album. A tragic space opera. Yes you heard that right a tragic space opera. Told over 3 parts, the story is about a lone astronaut who is separated from his craft and is swallowed by space and is transformed into another being. The album allows Carney to showcase his wit (which is very unique) and his deft guitar work. Part 1 is a slow build over 16 minutes with an incredible solo about a third of the way in to set up an extended eerie build which then drops into a blistering, psychedelic jam. Part 2 is a faster paced track about the astronaut’s voyage through space and his transformation. Part 3 rounds out the journey through the cosmos as the astronaut accepts his fate as a newly formed higher being but still laments missing his family and previous life. In-between Part 2 and 3 is “The Singularity” which is a lush instrumental that builds up to the beginning Part 3.

This potentially could have gone so pretentiously wrong. But it doesn’t. Carney has crafted a rich, lush, and epic tale here. Hopefully his work pays off with huge success as this is an album that should make them huge. I for one look forward to seeing these live and having my mind totally blown away but them. Again.

Rating: 9 out of 10 | Michael Koehler

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