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Review: WAAX Debut EP “Holy Sick”

Brisbane rockers WAAX have released their high-octane debut EP “Holy Sick”, along with a short run of East Coast shows. The four-track EP perfectly captures the 5-piece’s grungy hard-rock sound as well as a surprisingly emotive stripped back track.

“Holy Sick” opens with WAAX’s most recent single I For An Eye. Frontwoman Marie DeVita’s scream of “I’M JUST A GIRL” explodes in your ears, with the track’s mix making it sound like DeVita is standing right next to you. The vocalist holds you her grasp as she delivers a powerful rant about feeling inferior and uncomfortable in her own skin. With edgy guitar parts, powerful drum fills, and an anthematic chorus the song is an instant rock winner. Unfortunately some lyrics are lost in the echo effect on DeVita’s vocals, but with the track’s addictive energy and simple melody you’ll soon be yelling along with DeVita. 

Even with a slightly subdued start compared to the EP’s opening track, title track Holy Sick keeps the WAAX rage pleasantly pelting your ears. The driving bass drumbeat in the song’s verses prime you for a killer pre-chorus, lead by a catchy and thick guitar riff accompanying the vocal hook. Lyrically, DeVita attacks lazy political opinions and disappointing leaders with her chant “Something’s not right here”. The wall of sound in the chorus slightly lets the song down, but is redeemed by the simple lead guitar embellishment and dynamic change going back into the song’s groovy verse.

The Brisbane 5-piece takes their hard rock sound back a notch in third track CC Thugs. The centerpiece of this epic track is DeVita, accompanied mostly by just a rhythm guitar, as she reflects being vulnerable and manipulated in lost relationships. DeVita’s vocal tone takes on a twang not too dissimilar to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O, as her voice conveys both surprising fragility and triumphant power as the song grows. The song effectively uses dynamics, in both instrumentation and levels of distortion, to slowly build intensity and emotion. CC Thugs is the gem of the EP, showing that both DeVita and WAAX are not just a one trick pony with their ability to evoke emotion just as refined as their grungy hard-rock. 

Closing “Holy Sick” is their first single Wisdom Teeth, released in early 2014. WAAX once again crank up their amps with a grungy pub-rock banger. The song only gets better as it progresses, and was clearly written with a late night mosh pit in mind. The clean and dirty guitar parts in the second verse are great light and shade, and naturally build intensity leading to the second chorus. The guitar heavy breakdown coupled with the “I need some peace!/Shut Up Shut Up!” chant is pure headbanging fodder, and is a perfect conclusion to “Holy Sick”.

Holy Sick” is 11 minutes and 14 seconds of pure WAAX. Frontwoman Marie DeVita leads a young band that’s smart enough to known there’s more to rock than just turning it up to eleven.

4/5

WAAX “Holy Sick” EP Tour

Friday 4th December

Workers Club, Melbourne

Saturday 5th December

Ed Castle, Adelaide

Thursday 10th December

Oxford Art Factory Gallery, Sydney

Friday 11th December

Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane

Saturday 12th December

Festival Of The Sun, Coffs Harbour

For Tickets Click HERE

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