Issue December 17, 2013

Baltimore Album

Waxeater
LATEST FLAME

It says something that the first track starts with Omar’s signature whistle. Waxeater not so subtly riffs on themes from “The Wire,” the critically renowned series that paid as much attention to the police as to the criminals. Waxeater pays homage to their source material, in this instance using thick distortion and grunge posturing as the vehicle for their story. Fittingly, Baltimore is a vicious and particularly dirty ride through the grittier side of punk; this is a grimy record that never hides that fact. Here we have a band firing on all cylinders. There is a viscous nature to the guitar/bass interplay that evokes Heater-era Crain, which is certainly a good thing. Still, there is a playfulness to the record, notably on tracks like “The Bunk,” which go a long way toward breaking an otherwise omnipresent tension.