The Waxwings

Let's Make Our Descent

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The Waxwings' third album is the Detroit band's second disappointing effort in a row. After a promising debut album, their second record followed the same formula of blissful guitar pop but forgot the memorable tunes and overcooked the production. Let's Make Our Descent strays from the formula and replaces it with an even less successful one. They seem to have fallen under the spell of the Rolling Stones at some point; the album is full of haphazard slide guitar, chunky rhythm guitars, and midtempo bluesy tempos that sound cribbed right from Black and Blue. Of all the Stones eras to imitate, this is perhaps the path less chosen, but one supposes it is that way for a reason. Songs like "Leave Less Waiting," with its sloppy and annoyingly insistent lead guitar meanderings, "Expected to Leave," with its obvious bar band structure, and "All the Fuss," with its plodding riff and repetitive melody, are just plain lame and bereft of inspiration and charm, just like the mid-'70s Stones. The vocals are the only thing that haven't changed much; they still have lush and heavy harmonies and steady, breathy leads. The problem is they are not suited to the musical backing at all. The other problem is that most of the songs on Descent are simply not very interesting. The only exceptions are the hooky, non-Stonesy "Steady As Starlight," the hard-driving "Every Light You See," and the acoustic "Answer to Me," which marries a funky back-porch handclapping beat, some tender 12-string plucking, and some wonderful vocal harmonies to an actual melody. The rest of the record is tiring. The plodding beats and endless guitar noodling just wear you down until you are ready to give up on the Waxwings. They should have titled the album Our Descent is Completed.

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