With all the hype around WAAX over the last few years, it’s hard to believe they’re only just coming out with their first full-length record, Big Grief. The group have a hard rock sound that smoothly blends elements of surfy alt-rock and grungy and post-punk, combined with production that stews it into something heavy yet palatable.
Their sound touches on north-coast contemporaries like Hockey Dad or Violent Soho, as well as other female-led groups like Tired Lion.
The album kicks off with the title track ‘Big Grief’. It eases you into the album in terms of heaviness, and a super catchy chorus that almost sounds bright and jangly, juxtaposed against the lyrics describing a ‘big grief pouring out of me’.
Next up comes ‘Labrador’, which is the bands huge single from last year. It’s a rad song combines all the best elements of this band, solid alt-rock riffs building around singer Marie ‘Maz’ DeVita’s huge vocals, they come in sweet and catchy before exploding desperate and raw on a hook that gets stuck in your head for ages.
‘No Apology’ showcases more of what I love about Maz’s singing, in the second half of the track there’s this ‘home is heaven, home is hell’ refrain where she sounds tense and rough, and when she lets loose her ability to mix that raspy yell and powerful clearness in a single word is insane. The tense sounding guitar that follows her voice along in this part of the song is super cool, too.
‘History’ quietens down a bit for something a bit more intimate sounding, before the deep and fuzzy guitar kind of drunkenly ambles in on the second half of the track for a building slow burner. ‘Changing Face’ continues this quieter section with acoustic guitar and prettier vocals for a song that’s sort of sad and nostalgic.
‘Little Things’ is one of my favourites on the record. It has a super catchy hook, and there are these moments where unleashes these raw wails, while the rest of the music quietens, to make them some of the most impactful on the album, just before the rest of the band unleashes for a massive last chorus.
‘Why’ is another great tune, with super poignant lyrics in a grungy lament on the feelings of wasted potential when dragged down by feelings of depression in your youth.
Across twelve tracks on Big Grief, WAAX have defined their sound against the rest of the scene through the bands excellent use of dynamic verses and massive hooks, combining heavy rock with raw and emotion on their much anticipated first full-length album, Big Grief.
Dew Process / Universal Music Australia.
Reviewed by Liam McNally