Brisbane’s WAAX have been building up a strong live reputation ever since their first two songs – “I for an Eye” and “Wisdom Teeth” – were released. The band hit the studio earlier this year, and back in October, the band released a surprise EP, titled Holy Sick, containing these two songs and two new tracks.
The first two songs, “I For an Eye” and the new “Holy Sick”, showcase the power and force of the band’s rock/punk versatility. The instrumentation is tight, with the bass guitar giving the music its furious propulsion. The title track in particular, with its sing-along punk melody, is begging to be played live.
The band’s strongest asset, however, is Marie DeVita’s voice – she has an incredibly wide range, going from angry howling to soulful and evocative crooning, sometimes within the same line. Her voice simultaneously has power and vulnerability. The band anchors itself around its front-person’s voice, giving the music a sense of colour and vision rarely seen in such a fresh band – they already have their sound and musical personality basically down-pat, which is promising for future releases.
While the blistering power of the title track and “I For an Eye” hooks the listener, the standout track is arguably “CC Thugs”, a new direction for the band. The track is much quieter and slower than the others – it builds a sinister mood through the interplay of flanging guitars and DeVita’s vocals, which seem about to burst into fury at any moment. A track like this isn’t a bolt from the blue – there’s always been a dark, almost Pixies-esque undercurrent to the band’s heavy rock. But this song foregrounds this element of WAAX’s sound, and represents an intriguing new direction for the band, which I hope they incorporate for future releases.
The final track, the previously released “Wisdom Teeth”, rounds off the release with a return to the blistering power of the opening tracks – the call and response chorus and fierce instrumentation rounds off the EP well and should create a buzz for WAAX’s live performances (which sees them with some AU Live Music Award nominations this year, naturally!).
The Holy Sick EP sees WAAX consolidating and subtly shifting their sound – they haven’t just gone for more of the same. While we only got two new songs, they are both powerful and complex, building anticipation for that next release; a perfect taste of what is to come.
Review Score: 8.7 out of 10
Holy Sick is available now.