Friday, March 16, 2012

The Ax - The Queen of Dirt

The Ax  - “Our Queen of Dirt”, 2009
(Whoa! Boat)

Seattle two-man band The Ax have a debut album that can divided into three sections.  For the first four songs play garage rock that invades guarded personal sound space like an over-agressive washing machine filled to the brim spinning on a heavy-duty cycle.  Possible band comparisons would be Sonic Youth or The Gordons as the vocals on “The Albino” are used as a separate instrument.  In the second part, from “Sharp Teeth”, there’s a Gordon Gano nasal whine over the top of a disorienting near metallic loud droning noise.   In the third and final act, The Ax re-metamorphisize into a fuzzy industrial sandpaper-raw abrasive noise blur with a slight touch of the Jesus and Mary Chain in the singing and using feedback as an accompanying instrument.  . Their quick-change act also changes them into the audio equivalent of blurry vacation snapshots that your friends pester you to look at. Politely you say, “That’s nice” while you’re just secretly hoping they’ll stop and just go home shortly.   In The Ax’s case, I just hoped the songs would get shorter even though none of them reach over the three-minute and a half mark.   Future music theorists will write dissertatons on how a band can drone on and bore in such a short time if anyone actually cares enough about this band to place  “The Queen of Dirt” in a time capsule.

 There is a fascination with close-ups of human eyes and low budget B-grade sci-fi on the album artwork, which indicates a weirdness for weird’s sake if it hadn’t been most likely stolen directly from The Residents.   Admittedly it was late at night but I fell asleep listening to this album a number of times.   That it’s possible to sector this album into parts proves that this material would have been better released as EP’s because these fourteen songs are difficult to digest in one entire sitting.  


The Ax on bandcamp

The Ax on myspace

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