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Waxwing - One for the Ride (Cover Artwork)

Waxwing

Waxwing: One for the RideOne for the Ride (2000)
Second Nature Recordings

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: colincolin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

A few weeks I caught a Murder by Death show. Acoustic strummer Rocky Votolato was one of the opening acts, a man I had only known as the brother of Cody, famed for his guitar work in the Blood Brothers. Votolato had a voice almost incomprehensibly good. I picked up his Suicide Medicine, and promptly.
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A few weeks I caught a Murder by Death show. Acoustic strummer Rocky Votolato was one of the opening acts, a man I had only known as the brother of Cody, famed for his guitar work in the Blood Brothers. Votolato had a voice almost incomprehensibly good. I picked up his Suicide Medicine, and promptly fell in love. I looked for other acts he had been in, and lo and behold, brothers did as brothers do and had a band called Waxwing together. I picked up a used copy of One for the Ride for $4.50. I put it on, and was immediately blown away.

Waxwing should have been huge. This is the very best of `90s underground rock (which some call the real emo). In the similar vein of Sunny Day Real Estate's Diary, Mineral's The Power of Failing, Jimmy Eat World's Static Prevails and even later albums such as Further Seems Forever's The Moon Is Down, this album has it all. Taking those records into consideration and adding Cody's technical guitar work lead by Rocky's perfectly rolling vocals and you've got something really special, and incredibly overlooked.

One for the Ride rolls between pop and depravity with hooks and riffs one after another, creating simple yet elegant, near organic music. Even in the simplicity of "Kill the Messenger," there's a nervous tension behind every note, with the vocals remaining between questioning fragility and accusing sincerity. However, although the songs are often sprawling and lengthy, they never overextend their stay and become boring.

The album has many subtle differences between the songs to keep them interesting, but the vocals really contain them well. The southern twang to "There WIll Be a Reckoning" comes right after the almost coldly technical "Where Did the Time Go?," but neither sound out of place. The poppiest track, "All of My Prophets" precedes the fragile and saddening title track, but they all are held together by a band that is very good at proclaiming individuality through their music.

The biggest problem with the album seems to be the lyrics. The writing style is often lopsided, with Rocky's very literal imagery often coming across as trite. While this album is six years old and his writing has obviously gotten better, it still seems like it wouldn't have taken much editing to make things ring a bit more. It's not a huge detraction, but a couple times it sounds a bit strange. Sometimes he hits gold, with the lines from the aformentioned first song;

All of my prophets were the singers of sad songs / so it's no wonder that I've been the victim of / a wavering faith.
However, sometimes it just doesn't work as well. While his sentiment and passion are behind the vocals, and you can tell he really means what he writes, his style just makes you think of some nerdy overpassionate environmentalist middle school girl. Example;
Food costs money and kids gotta eat something. / If a farmer's work is honest, the contribution won't go unnoticed. / I wish I were a farmer, to be satisfied with what these hands have grown. / No food of mine sits in the bellies of others. / Instead, this strange secret twisting which each only knows.
But, like I said, it's not often and it's a minor distraction. If you're a fan at all of the albums I've previously mentioned, I really think you'd dig Waxwing. The music isn't overproduced, it isn't filled with flair or effects; it's just a solid rock album that has made me a huge fan of this band.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
rocktopus (August 7, 2007)

I have alot of great memories listening to this record. The best of the Waxwing releases. Plus Rocky has become one of my favorite solo artists. Although I am not a fan of the blood brothers. At all.

iseriouslyhateyou (July 10, 2006)

These families are talented. Waxwing's drummer Rudy Gajadhar shred's in his latest and quite popular band Gatsby's American Dream. And his brother Mark does amazing work in The Blood Brothers and Neon Blonde.

GreenVandal (July 9, 2006)

I have only listened to this band a bit, and its good, but I much prefer the blood brothers. They are uncomparable really but, ya know, if i was trapped on a desert island or something: blood brothers.

Anonymous (July 8, 2006)

holy shit, this is seriously one of my all time favorite albums. Such good music. The song Industry where it goes into the salsa part = flawless

badmouth (July 8, 2006)

it's weird because this album and their first "For Madmen Only" sound very similar, and i'm pretty sure they were a decent amount apart, FMO is a little harder and I've yet to get "Nobody can take what everybody owns" but no doubt they're an amazing band and easier to listen to then Blood Brothers (that wasn't a bash it's just true)

Anonymous (July 7, 2006)

You can't criticize the blood brothers and then mention coheed in the same post.

You just can't.
It's gotta be against something somewhere.

...whooooaaa...

Anonymous (July 7, 2006)

bloodbrothers blow. long live coheed!

Anonymous (July 7, 2006)

I love anything that rocky has been involved with.
although i think suicide medicine is his best release.

-bryan styles

Anonymous (July 7, 2006)

"his style just makes you think of some nerdy overpassionate environmentalist middle school girl. Example; "

In the context of the song, he almost speaks those lines, resists the words coming out at the pace of actual speaking like he doesn't control it, and forces the words into a song space. It works in the song.

This is good, but I really love 'nobody can own...'.

I also think his newest solo record is his best yet, wish he'd come back around here.

wyzo

colin (July 7, 2006)

tony-yeah 'nobody can take...' is my favorite by far. absolutely amazing record. shit is mind blowingly good.

Anonymous (July 7, 2006)

They were fucking good live too. I'm glad I lived in the Seattle area from 1998-2002. Much better than the Blood Brothers.

FatTony (July 7, 2006)

These guys are the sauce. Nobody Can Take What Everybody Owns is also a solid album. And FYI, Rudy Gajadhar (of Gatsby's American Dream fame) was the drummer for Waxwing.

SloaneDaley (July 7, 2006)

this album as well as Waxwing's others are so fucking good, Rocky's voice is something truly special. Good review, much respect.

Anonymous (July 7, 2006)

i see a wax theme forming, lets hope it doesnt peter out

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