Waxwing One for the Ride

These bands are part of an emo-rock renaissance that includes such contemporaries as Elliott, the Get Up Kids and Chamberlain. Like those bands, Brandston and Waxwing play music that contains all the essential ingredients to qualify them as emo - the emotive vocals, the jangly guitar hooks and the soft/hard/soft song structures - but they also aren't afraid to step beyond the sound, one that is fast becoming a cliché. The Ed Rose-produced Trying... is Brandston's third release, following up their stellar Letterbox debut and solid but less affecting Fallen Star Collection. On this six (and a half) song EP, the quartet concentrate more on the harder side of their sound for the first half before getting a little more contemplative on the second half. And stay tuned for a hidden bonus at the end of track six that's a silly yet smart attempt to show what the band might sound like if they played house music. Waxwing, on the other hand, are extremely serious about the sound of their follow-up to the For Madmen Only disc. This record takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, which culminates with the seven-minute epic "Laboratory." While their music is skilfully delivered, it still sounds a lot like what many other emo bands are doing. For Waxwing, it's the lyrics that set them apart. When Rocky Votolato sings "All of my prophets were singers of sad songs," in the opening line of "All My Prophets," you know exactly where this one's headed (Second Nature)