Proving that punk isn’t just about buzzsaw guitars, the Wax Chattels channel the spirit of seminal acts like Suicide on this splendidly splenetic slice of abrasive electronic bedlam.
On Wax Chattels, the Auckland three-piece ratchet up an unholy maelstrom of noise and distortion from just drum, bass and synths, unleashing both discordant soundscapes (‘Concrete’, ‘It’, ‘Career’) and fiery electro-punk thrashes (‘Stay Disappointed’, ‘Shrinkage’, ‘In My Mouth’). The closest they come to pop is on the dreamy ‘Gillian’, a tribute to the star of The X Files (though they are clearly are fans of Gillian Anderson’s later shows like The Fall), although it, too, eventually collapses into electronic chaos. The latter is one of a number tracks sung by bassist Amanda Cheng, who neatly complements the measured, almost spoken-word tones of keyboardist Pete Ruddell. As the song titles suggest, the lyrics on Wax Chattels are often as spare and bleak as the sound settings, but the power and intensity of their playing –Tom Leggett’s furious but inventive drumming is another key element in the sonic mix – means things never drag. Unsettling and thrilling in equal measure, this could be the debut of the year.
Flying Nun/Flying Out