Science, and its attendant technological progress and complications, is only ever going in one direction over the long run. You can try to build yourself an island if you want, but its shores will gradually get chipped away, atomized by an ever advancing digital tide. Toronto’s Waxlimbs have created a vaguely conceptual tale of the struggle to stay whole and human in a ever more inhuman world.
Fittingly, they take the form of a hybrid between a rock band and an electronic studio project. The opening title track takes a big swing, voices calling out in its lurching, grandiose chorus. That’s followed up by “The Joy Of Floating”, which seems to me to summon up the feeling of lightness that might accompany being transformed into pure, kaleidoscopic light, and shot out across the interstellar void.
“Molecules”, built on alternating calls and croaks of mechanized birds and robot frogs, is a lonely song, about passing through each other in the vast empty spaces of the quantum world. “Faces In The Fog” features guest lyrics and vocals from Olivia Cox, and sets the tone for the second half of the album, where things seem to be going steadily more wrong. Like on the following “The Ashes”, which is apocalyptic in its lyrics, though its music doesn’t quite rise to the level necessary for lines like “the Earth was torn asunder.” Better is “Broken Wing”, maybe the most electronic song here, that struck me as a kind of Muse-Interpol cross that almost becomes dance music.
The best and most fully realized track is last. “A Way Out” steadily builds its clapping death march into a howling metal ride that straps you in and takes you where it wants to go, whether it’s what you signed up for or not.
Top Track: “A Way Out”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)