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Wax Fingers Drop Self-Titled Debut Friday at The Knife Shop

Wax Fingers Drop Self-Titled Debut Friday at The Knife Shop


The self-titled debut from Portland's Wax Fingers is unlike most contemporary progressive rock records, especially in terms of endurance. Found far too often nowadays within that admittedly nebulous genre are songs that become weighted by a profound bout of prog-core calisthenics. Any semblance of listenability falls prey to how many time shifts occur within any given verse, and whether the song is art or experiment, or properly both, is lost in the shuffle. Wax Fingers excel at making you wish you were seeing their wizardly psychedelia live, but not minding that you're listening to it in your headphones.

Exhibiting flirtations with Primus-like, hammer-on time signature fuckery, songs like "Sticky Bees" are as fun to listen to as they are to try and describe. The entire album plays like a Mothers of Invention acid trip compilation, pitting highly technical guitar tapping and effects-whipped wails, deft drumming and keys into a frenzy of melting perceptions Dali himself would most likely herald. No two songs sound the same. No one is safe from hyperbole.

Despite a lack of traditional melodic counter-phrasing, songs like "Fasten the Hook" fuss around a groovy, ambitious, percussive-based core just the same, with reverb-fluffy vocals swirling in and about the mischief. "20/20" opens up parlaying a tight rhythm, with a Stewart Copeland rim revue anchoring a sonic plane filled with spatial key tinkerings. Then, just as the squall bleeds out, in comes the circus, the cavalcade of effects, the brigade of bells and whistles that Wax Fingers employs at once remarkably and without shame.

Fittingly, there's also a song called "Abacus," which blueprints a peppy reggae beat, replete with flittery fret work and punchy breaks. It's when that song cracks through to the soft gummy inside (okay, not so soft) that you finally hear an honest-to-goodness verse, then chorus, then verse. At least I think. Counting becomes hard after a while. When it involves listening to Wax Fingers, however, it's not a problem.

Check out "Skeleton Key" below, but do yourself a favor and listen to this entire album. Preferably at their CD release show, the details of which are also below...


Catch the band release their new album Friday, October 15 at The Knife Shop (Kelly's Olympian) with No Kind of Rider, and Empty Space Orchestra. Show starts at 9 p.m. $7 cover. The band will also be opening for Clinic on November 17 at Doug Fir.

- Ryan J. Prado

Published: October 14, 2010 |

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