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Waax | Big Grief

Aussie indie-rockers make a stunning debut thanks to their fearsome frontwoman.

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WHO ARE THEY? A powerhouse band of Australian indie-rockers whose sound splits the diff between grunge, post-punk and alt-rock — but whose not-so-secret weapon is fearsome force-of-nature frontwoman Marie DeVita, one of the most captivating vocalists I’ve stumbled across this year. Consider yourself warned.

WHAT IS THIS? Their first full-length release after a pair of EPs that have earned them plenty of praise in their homeland.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Three-fourths of a great album. When DeVita and her bandmates are firing on all cylinders, their aggressively adrenalized, angst-fuelled anthems  come off like the second coming of Hole. And the sheer hair-raising fury of her full-blooded, braying wail and uncompromisingly confessional lyrics will stop you dead in your tracks. Too bad they water down the punch with just a few too many ballads — though I have to admit a couple of them are growing on me.

WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? So Close and Yet So Far.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? The first time: All the way through, if only to marvel at DeVita’s awesome might. After that: On a playlist of your own choosing.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Ferocious, propulsive, confrontational, intense, noisy, cathartic, revealing, compelling, uncompromising, visceral.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? For me, the first four cuts — the title track, Labrador, No Apology and FU — are flawless. But back-nine offerings like Fade, Little Things, I Am and Why are also strong.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘How does she sing like that without hurting herself?’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? I’ve had it on repeat for the past couple of days — and some of these choruses are doing to be stuck in my head for a lot longer.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A WEATHER PHENOMENON, WHAT KIND OF WEATHER WOULD IT BE? A Category 5 hurricane — complete with eerily calm eye at the centre.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? It’s literally one or two songs away from an absolutely essential purchase. Start with the stream and see where it takes you.