DON'T PANIC RECORDS
When I heard that this album was a space-rock opera, my intrigue trumped my apprehension and I dove in. I'm glad I did, as I was catapulted into an ecstatic and cinematic dreamscape. Wax Fang's "The Astronaut" is indeed otherworldly, but not the least bit odd. It tells the tale of an astronaut lost in space who is sucked into a black hole. He then emerges on the other side as a galactic super-being of sorts. According to the band, "The Astronaut" is an ode to the wonder, the majesty, and the horror of the universe.
Wax Fang is a duo — Scott Carney and Jacob Heustis — out of Louisville, Kentucky. The band has always employed a certain degree of psych-rock frosting atop its music for emphasis. On this album, it doesn't cop out by employing stock floating effects to simulate universal depth, but rather brilliantly divides "The Astronaut" into three movements rooted in the curiosity of indie-rock precursors like Pink Floyd and Television. The first movement alone will kick your ass as it vacillates between a lilting eternal feeling and blind beauty before building — or rather careening — into a blustery, end-of-the-word-sounding Ornette Coleman/Black Sabbath sonic hell. This is one of the most powerful pieces of music I've heard in, well, perhaps ever. It's astounding.