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The Wax Birds - Album Review: Yellowhammer

28 Feb 2023 // A review by Kev Rowland

Although I work in Auckland on North Island (New Zealand’s largest city), I call home a small farm close to a township called Oxford on South Island, and I get back there as often as I can, especially as that is where my wonderful wife is. According to the last census the population is 2,214, so not exactly a metropolis, but we love it. Needless to say, it was the last place to find a band, so when I realised The Wax Birds live just behind me, I knew I had to get my hands on the new album. Jo and Pete have been married almost 17 years and have been playing music together for the last three, and this is their second album, following on from 2020’s Slow Rise.

Although there are some drums and bass played on this album by Pete, and mandolin on Fire On The Hill by Dean Heatherington, they have kept this release deliberately stripped back with acoustic guitar providing the support for their voices. It is very strange indeed to see Jo wearing an Idles shirt in one of their photos as this is about as far as from Idles you can get, with softly sung vocals, both Jo and Pete prepared to take the lead or harmonise. The album contains eight original numbers and two covers, and the title cut includes some birdsong which is totally in keeping with the rest of the album which is fresh, folky and even has a country and western feeling at times, and feels grounded in reality and nature with no need for the bustle of  the city.

Stay is an incredibly poignant number, and one which most immigrants can relate to as it is about the experience of coming to a new country and not really feeling at home in the new and also not feeling at home in the old. The lyrics are about relying on each other, knowing it is going to be okay, and there is a feeling of depth not only in this but in many of the others as well.

In some ways they remind me of In The Shallows, and I am sure audiences would enjoy hearing them play together at some point. As for the covers, here we have very different versions of Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dark and To Love Somebody by Bee Gees, and they both work very well indeed within the context of the album, also showing how strong their own material is up against them. Hopefully I will see them play at some point, as this is a nice release and well worth investigating.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About The Wax Birds

The Wax Birds are an Acoustic Duo based in Oxford, Canterbury.

They moved to New Zealand from the UK back in 2016.

They cover a range of songs spanning the last 80 years and love to put their spin on all genres.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Wax Birds


Year: 2023
Type: Album
Slow Rise
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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