BY JENNIFER KELLY
Alex Wall’s Wax Witches plays bratty, snarky, insanely catchy pop punk, with a shot of sci-fi psych in this second solo full-length. Wall comes from Australia, where his bright but abrasive beer can summer anthems would fit right in with bands like Royal Headache and UV Race, but he lives in Brooklyn now, bringing a nervy edge to his tunes.
“Summer Suckers” is maybe the best and certainly the punkest of these brash, bristly tunes, with its slashing power chords, its reverb-shrouded shouts and giddy “woo-ooh-ooh-oohs.” It’s a feel-good, sing-along for disaffected youth. “Social Introvert,” the other single, is angstier, bubbling over with synth tones, scrabbling manically on jittery guitars, but still eminently hummable. Elsewhere, Wall opens the sound out into psychedelic drone, as on expansive “Sertonin” and the shoegazing blur of “Twenty Seven.” The harder hitting songs sound like glam-punk, think Apache and Impediments, while the hazier, soft-focus ones evoke West Coast lo-fi outfits like Ty Segall and the Meatbodies.
Wall spends a lot of time thinking about 1970s-style rock excess, dedicating one song to dead icons (“Twenty Seven”), another to excessive fandom (“Your Not My Idol” spelling his) and a third to scenesters and hangers-on (“Poser”). He’s funniest, though, when he flies closest to reality, describing his girlfriend, eating salad when he wants a burrito, going shopping when he wants to watch wrestling. But mostly it is Wall’s way with a tune that wins you over. Half a dozen songs are ear-worming, a couple including “Social Introvert” and “Summer Suckers” are downright indelible. Great for fun, if not for deep scrutiny.
DOWNLOAD: “Social Introvert,” “Summer Suckers”