Blending a unique mix of 80s synth pop and contemporary indie rock, Weekend Lover, the debut EP from London/Tunbridge Wells four piece WAX, exemplifies perfectly the band’s diverse musical abilities and interesting synthesis of genres. Playing on themes such as loneliness, lust, and present day conceptions of masculinity, the release expresses the highs and lows of life as modern man, leading the listener on an enlightening journey as the tracks develop in tone and complexity, and are loaded with feelings of sombre sensitivity.
Suggesting retro influences such as New Order and Depeche Mode, first track ‘A&E’ combines a mix of subtle vocals, smooth guitar and minimalist synth to create a relaxed, reflective mood. Expressing frustration at the complications of relationships and love, lead vocalist Angus Powell sings “it’s the science of love that drives you insane” as the chorus builds and the drums kick in. Alternatively, following track ‘Cupid’ appears to incorporate current stylistic elements of The Black Keys and The Vaccines. With a catchy, upbeat, yet chilled out opening, the song evolves to incorporate tender but playful guitar notes and slow-paced vocals throughout the chorus and verses, creating an overall more mellow tone than initially appeared at the start of the track.
‘Eleckra’ opens with bouncy synth and hushed vocals, before traces of clean guitar and eerie harmonies emerge from the ensemble. Creating a mysterious vibe, lyrics “teenage rampage // another episode” reflect carefully crafted adolescent mischief, the perfect soundtrack to lazy evenings and dark night drives. A personal favourite, penultimate track ‘1848’ is evidently the most optimistic sounding on the EP. Opening with simple and understated synth chords, the introduction of drums, guitar and distorted vocals give the track a futuristic feel, the band’s electronic influences evident as Powell sings repeatedly of “evolution”, progress and the difficulties of change.
Finally, title track ‘Weekend Lover’ reflects themes of isolation and loneliness through it’s downcast composition. Leaving the listener feeling meditative and self-reflexive, the monotone nature of the song creates a weary atmosphere as a drum sample, not dissimilar to the sound of a heart skipping a beat, signals defeat as the track, and the EP, draws to it’s end. An interestingly provocative release on the whole, we can only await further experimental music from this up-and-coming band.
Words by Kate Eldridge