by Rob Jones

The original Imperial Wax consisted of what was the last line up of The Fall minus the late, great Mark E. Smith. Into those big boots cane the vibrant voice of ex-Black Pudding frontman Sam Curran – who certainly has a different texture and more extensive range to his vocal delivery when compared to the unique approach of M.E.S. The verbal is volleyed with far more traditional rock values than the previous guru whose anti-singing and language kaleidoscope put him on a pedestal as the absolute ambassador of the alternative.

However, it is well done to this buoyant band for not attempting to be the new real Fall. Instead of which Imperial Wax pump up the volume and go through the gears of guitar gusto with an electric edge. Tranquiliser is the second long player from this act and it is an album that stands alone in the contemporary field. Yes, hard edged Fall fans will find joy in the contents but do not expect an entry into further files from the vaults of that element of the pop peripheries – because Imperial Wax offer their own imperious works.

This second major release has come with its difficulties. The original recordings were shelved and then the whole process was recommenced. Dave Spurr left the group and other new bodies have come on board to expand this entity and new chemistry has been sought. A record label was initiated and core member Pete Greenway was struck down by a lethal long covid. Plenty going on then!

However, the end result is an eleven piledriver assault that will have appeal to the heavy hitters and catapults a jaunty juggernaut through 60s garage rock, 70s punk and 80s hard core. Hard hitting harmonies that hint of a Husker Du clashing with a stomping Slade or Motorhead duelling with a souped up Spiritualized are to the fore. The energy, enterprise and excellence within the songwriting, musicianship and production is evident and this team of tunes will ignite your endorphins. Rhythms to raise the dead and a noise with poise panache aim for the jugular. Year six of tricks for the Wax offers crackjerjacks!

‘Dedication not medication’, this Tranquiliser is a recommended pill to swallow.