David Wax Museum
Knock Knock Get Up
Mark of the Leopard (41 mins)
These days the indie-folk gimmick is so over-used that it’s easy to dismiss any band that claims to have folk/roots influences as white guys in skinny jeans who toss around some acoustic numbers on ukulele just to ride the Mumford & Sons wave of success. And this is precisely why David Wax Museum is so refreshing.
It would be unfair to label Knock Knock Get Up as either an indie album with a sprinkling of folk or a folk album playing with indie sounds. The band’s core duo – David Wax and Suz Slezak – bridge these two worlds so well that it’s hard to decide where one ends and the other begins. Tracks like ‘All Sense of Time’ would sound at home on any indie album, until you realise the subtle buzzing in the background is actually Slezak playing the quijada de burro (donkey jawbone). The catchy lyrics of ‘Harder Before it Gets Easier’ pair seamlessly with some Cajun-worthy accordion lines. ‘Leopard Girl’ is a rock’n’roll flashback with shuffling Latin rhythms. Throughout the album Mexican son and Americana perfectly compliment the band’s indie sensibilities, and the duo expertly avoid producing a sound that is a generic whitewash of influences.
Knock Knock Get Up is David Wax Museum’s first release to make it across the pond to the UK. And it’s about time. This joyous selection of songs is the perfect cure to the indie epidemic. It is honest music with rich harmonies, catchy melodies and gentle Latin rhythms. It’s sure to break through the grey and be the soundtrack to the summer.
TRACK TO TRY: Harder Before it Gets Easier
This review originally appeared in Songlines #93 (July 2013) p72.