WAAX’s debut album Big Grief explores rebirth, wildly weaving catchy instrumentals and deeply personal lyrics into every track. With an empowering intensity, front woman Maz DeVita expresses personal experiences through achingly honest lyrics, mixed with her signature roaring vocals.
Maz’s resilience and defiance over her conflicts is reflected in the addictive and memorable No Apology, the third track on the album when she snarls; “Sometimes I wanna scream down the city, I wanna give no apology”. This track, a significant standout in the album, was performed in the band’s live shows during their recent Big Grief Tour. Issues surrounding mental health and individual’s acceptance within a turbulent contemporary society are beautifully explored through fittingly repetitive drumming patterns reverberating around Maz as her vocals spin, continuously singing chilling lines; “Home is heaven, home is hell.”
Labrador, their first single released in 2018 deals with damaging gender stereotypes in the music industry and daily life, and body image; ideas that are universally understood. “You’re a girl and a girl isn’t welcome in here” is satirical and unfortunately realistic. Labrador and No Apology are the sparks that create a flame and necessary segue into the fourth track, FU. This anthem is the fire that fights back at oppressive others asking “What were you thinking? Doing the same thing”, and is executed in the most measured and satisfying way. Fast-paced drum beats and guitar drones fit perfectly with Maz’s restrained and varied vocal tones.
In the band’s live shows, Maz mentioned History is about someone you have history with and you can’t avoid it, you have to acknowledge it. This track tricks you at the start, beginning in a ballad style then reverts to classic WAAX tones and guitar thrashes, building to a climax with “there’s always something that’s pulling the cord, we have a history.” Changing Face is the obvious mid-point seamlessly seeping into a slow and contemplative acoustic rest before the last half of the album.
Through Little Things, we understand constant struggles that come with anxiety, synthesised in Maz’s haunting authenticity as she growls “You wanna be like me?!” This perfect textured balance between raw vocals and instrumentals by Tom, Ewan, Tom ‘Griff’ and Chris continues in the tracks Why and I.D.K.W.I.F.L. Both songs maintain punk vibes while keeping emotional undertones through tumultuous and self-reflective lyrics.
Big Grief is ultimately a story of loss and growth. Filled with transcendental and memorable songs, WAAX create an intimately raw atmosphere, leaving you cleansed and addicted to the album, playing it on repeat and embedding it into your life. These themes are also evident in the album artwork by Cristina Daura, featuring a fractured face growing ghosts and flowers from her cheeks. Like smashing a vase and making a beautiful mosaic from it, WAAX’s Big Grief epitomise both destruction and regeneration.
Album Review By Zara Zampaglione