No Safe Home
It’s not easy to shift your sound over a decade into your musical career, but Hamilton’s Chris Adeney has made a drastic leap seem paradoxically fluid. Adeney, who goes by the moniker Wax Mannequin, has quietly made a name for himself in the psych folk scene since 2000. Though well known for his lively recordings and extravagant performances doused in heavy theatricality, his latest album No Safe Home is altogether a remarkably subdued effort. Stripped off the most freak-rock and confrontational aspects of his trademark sound, bits and pieces still poke through in the form of haunting, chilling melodies and growling vocals. It’s these uniquely Wax Mannequin elements that makes the switch to acoustic singer-songwriter tunes seem natural.
One of the most compelling tracks on the album is “Other Part.” The bare-bones arrangement of steadily plucked guitar and raspy vocals creates a tension that’s finally released through a sudden crescendo into near chaos. “How did you know I need to be controlled? I leave you or I lose my soul?” Adeney shouts over frantic drums as the song fades out with a cathartic whisper of “I’ll find you or I’ll lose my mind.”
The combination of sparse production, careful arrangements, and Adeney’s deeply personal lyrics create a sense of intimacy. From the opening bars of “Black Bells,” No Safe Home grabs the listener and keeps them close throughout a solid collection of well-crafted and brooding folk songs. If Adeney continues in this genre, it’s certain that he’ll continue to incorporate his wild, eclectic roots into subtly constructed folksy gems.
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