Wax Witches

Center of Your Universe

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On his previous work as Wax Witches, garage-punk mastermind Alex Wall (of Bleeding Knees fame) took the bratty sound of classic pop punk and gave it a thorough sonic shredding, resulting in brittle and brash lo-fi gems like 2013's Celebrity Beatings. On Center of Your Universe, Wall cleans up the fidelity while keeping Wax Witches' youthful attitude firmly intact, giving the album a jarringly grown-up feeling that, surprisingly, works pretty well. Perhaps the best way to describe this new sound would be muscular. Given the project's crunchy legacy, that seems like the last word you could use to describe Wax Witches sound, but with Center of Your Universe, Wall injects a real heft to his work, slowing down the guitars in a way that makes them feel weightier and more substantial. Playing off the heaviness of the guitars are Wall's vocals, which feel wistful and nostalgic, evoking the yearning and heartache of power pop legends like Cheap Trick's Robin Zander. Combined with the album's slower pace, this makes Center of Your Universe a nostalgic experience that effortlessly whisks the listener back to those uncertain teenage years where every feeling seemed bigger and more important than any that came before. While those who fell in love with Wax Witches' snotty (in a good way) side, Center of Your Universe will come as a shock to the system. But once the initial surprise wears off, what's left is a touching and heartfelt love letter to isolation, heartache, and the endless summers of our teenage years.

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