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August List - Wax Cat

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 16 / 11 / 2021



August List - Wax Cat
Label: Ubiquity Project Records
Format: CD

intro

Third album from Oxford’s The August List takes their brand of Americana down even weirder, fascinating paths than they have visited before


The third album from Oxford-based band The August List finds the husband-and-wife duo of Kerraleigh and Martin Child not straying too far from the formula of their previous EPs and albums but still exploring new avenues in the nine songs. Eight of the songs are originals written by the couple; the one cover is The Diamond Family Archive’s ‘Big Black Dog’. The album opens with ‘Seams’, drums are the first sound and there’s little doubt from just the first few seconds that this track at least is going to be a mind-blower. Deep, hard guitar riffs underpin Kerraleigh’s , as usual, fascinating vocals, at once sounding breezy yet heavy and menacing. There’s an unsettling beauty to much of The August List’s music and this track is no exception. The ghostly backing vocals from Kerraleigh are chillingly beautiful with weird little bleeps and synth touches all making this an opener that it’s impossible to ignore. Remember how under all that distortion and noise The Jesus And Mary Chain had some wonderful melodies running under the surface? Not only this opening song but other occasions when The August List turn up the volume there’s some beautiful, captivating sounds breaking through the mix. ‘Puget Sound’ is more of a smoulder, the duo’s voices merging together perfectly, some beautiful guitar work on this track creating an almost mellow vibe in sections. ‘God Is In A Wire’ is simply stunning and a highlight. Kerraleigh takes the lead vocal duties and her voice is simply amazing; a controlled howl in the wordless parts yet still chillingly beautiful. The song also features what could arguably be her strongest vocal performance on the album. Freaky electronic sounds and electric guitar to match really do make this a standout. ‘Lost At Sea’ changes direction again; Martin takes the lead vocals but when Kerraleigh joins him the results are stunning and stop the listener in their tracks. The beautiful ballad is acoustic led. Again the melody lodges itself in your head and refuses to give up residence. There’s even, appropriately, a slight maritime vibe to the song. ‘Distorted Mountain’ unsurpringly evokes images of mountains and deserts. It’s a brooding piece with Kerraleigh once more turning in a stunning vocal performance, although Martin proves once again that he’s a more than capable vocalist on the album those who like their female singers capable of going from a whisper to a controlled howl in minutes will love Kerraleigh’s vocals, especially on this track; she never fails to surprise but these vocals coupled with brilliant back-up from the rest of the band seem to take those vocals to another place. ‘Might Get Low’ has a more retro feel, like the band have been transported back to the mid-1960s for the duration of the song while knowing what the future was going to sound like. Again, it’s vocally outstanding. ‘Wheelhouse’ also looks over its shoulder to the '60s; a typical snotty garage band blaster that’s over in just under two minutes. ‘Crooked Starlite’ is a beautiful almost instrumental piece. Wordless vocals and various instruments and sounds weave in and out to make the track the one to turn to in those quieter, reflective moments. Kerraleigh might not be forming words on this track but she sure manages to get the beauty across. It’s a showcase for all the players on the album and probably would have been my personal choice for the closing track. But that honour goes to the cover of ‘Big Black Dog’. Initially it made little sense why the duo would follow such a beautiful piece of music with an almost disturbing song, especially in this bands hands and with Martin’s vocals conjuring up images of some scary hellfire preacher. For all the musical sounds and effects going on under Martin’s unsettling vocals the song somehow retains a spareness which adds to the already eeriness of the song. But as it abruptly ends it makes some kind of sense as to why the band placed the song as the closing track. ‘Wax Cat’ is a diverse but always rewarding album; no two tracks follow the same path totally yet the album hangs together as a whole perfectly. It’s definitely the best from The August List we’ve yet heard.



Track Listing:-
1 Seams
2 Puget Sound
3 God is in a Wire
4 Lost at Sea
5 Distorted Mountain
6 I Might Get Low
7 Wheelhouse
8 Crooked Starlite
9 Big Black Dog


Band Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/theaugustlistmusic
https://twitter.com/theaugustlist


Label Links:-
http://www.ubiquityprojectrecords.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/ubiquityprojectrecords
https://twitter.com/ubiprorec


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interviews


Interview (2014)
August List - Interview
Malcolm Carter chats to Oxfordshire husband-and-wife duo the August List about 'O Hinterland', their much acclaimed debut album
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