12 April 2021 (released)
23 April 2021
The forming of musical partnerships creates this fascinating lineage that sends ripples through time. Rarely does it happen that the key connections are found by a cold audition process or the answering of an ad (although “Ozzy Zig needs a gig” scrawled out on a music store message board did create heavy metal as we know it). Often it's either by gigging with other bands or being connected by friends that the major sustaining musical relationships form. “Have you heard Jay from the Tuesday Binge?! He's incredible, you guys should do something together!” This network of artists searching to find the people that will unlock the potential of their voice is the story of popular music.
Drummers are always the ones in short supply. The burden of the kit and the vagabond personality make them a rare bird, so you'll usually find a drummer playing in eight different bands. For Wax Moon, it was a mutual drummer that brought them together. He asked the leader of the Careless Hearts Paul Kimball and musical guru John Blatchford from The Mumlers and Doctor Nurse to perform a few songs at his wedding as a duo. The chemistry clicked and Kimball and Blachford ran with it. Their latest release Hello Morning is their first full-length following a pair of EPs. The pair have stumbled upon a sound that rides the wave of West Coast folk/Americana that swept the indie scene over the last few decades while also tapping into the great vocal groups of the '60s who defined the style.
The light fingerpicking of acoustic guitars at dawn opens the album. The ambling rhythm and warm chords of the title track perfectly score those first moments of the day, full of possibilities. Strings rise to greet them as they harmonize impeccably. Minor chord dalliances lead fluidly back to their major home. The production is pristine despite being “recorded in the garage of John's Outer Sunset apartment”. Blatchford brings to the table a deep bench of instrumental aptitude and engineering skill which makes the record a delight to the ears. Along with the recurring violin of Ryan Avery, these country touchstones give the album a welcoming sense of home.
The mid-album stunner 'Feather From a Gun' expertly channels the mix of ponderous minor fingerpicked guitar with overlapping airy harmonies that made Simon and Garfunkel hit 'The Sound of Silence' so arresting. The song's dialled in “soft intensity” makes it the record's standout track, anchoring the album's thematic core. 'In Control' lulls you into a hypnotic trance, modulating to simple lifting chord changes that are subtle yet give the song its ineffable hook. The penultimate 'I Wanna Believe You' opens up the album's format adding textural keyboard pads and drums to the sonic palette. The guitar lines take on a menacing spaghetti western quality, primed for the score to an Albuquerque drug drama.
Wax Moon's Hello Morning showcases the musical connection and talent of Kimball and Blatchford with serene melodies, well-executed harmonies, and a production that is both lush and understated. A testament to what having an ear for complementary talent can lead to.