Our Daily Bread 465: The August List ‘Wax Cat’

August 31, 2021

ALBUM REVIEW/Dominic Valvona

The August List ‘Wax Cat’
(All Will Be Well Records)  3rd September 2021

Another of those English county dreamers reaching for the expansive and more desolate plains of a distant, often imagined, Americana, the Oxford-based August List bend alt-country tastes to their will on the latest album, Wax Cat.

Led by the married couple of Martin and Kerraleigh Child, with a supporting cast of locals on drums, violin, guitar, banjo and synth effects, the band wanders an epic panorama of empowered intensity and more ethereal lush contemplation. Dreaming big with a variety of light and shade, swells and tenderer moments, there’s bowed, waned and searching duet plaints set to northwestern waterway junctions, named in honour of the late 18th century British explorer (‘Puget Sound’), and Tennessee, via Gram’s Joshua Tree and the Laurel Canyon, visions of a heart-rendering, bittersweet and mythologized country songbook landscape. Whether together or riding solo the two voices share quite a good range. Especially Kerraleigh, who can sound empowered and resolute on songs like the opening big-hitter, gnarled ‘Seams’, and like a combination of the Howling Bells, Maria McKee, Leila Moss and Emmylou Harris on the desert’s edge ‘Distorted Mountain’. There’s even an air of the paisley underground on the majestic violin straining ‘I Might Get Low’. It most also be noted that Kerraleigh also plays a most gauzy harmonica on a few tracks too.

That country vibe can be heard roaming into shoegaze, and the crushing quite to crescendo ache of Mazzy Star. Meanwhile the August List’s cover of The Diamond Family Archive’s ‘Big Black Dog’ sounds like Ian MuCulloch fronting Spiritualized, and the enervated, synth warped with flange stroked guitar, ‘God In A Wire’, reminded me a bit of R.E.M.

From the storming Bosco-Delray-wrestles-with-Charlie-Megira-at-a-hoedown ‘Wheelhouse’, to the dreamy ‘Crooked Starlite’, there’s as much quality as there is variety to the crescendo-riven August List sound. Who better to set introspective feelings and longings from the Home Counties to an alternative country soundtrack then Oxford’s very classy August List. In short: a great album from start to finish.

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

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