A minor point of interest:
“The famous artist and naturalist John James Audubon would sometimes catch specimens of waxwings by finding them so drunk that they became unable to fly, and just walking out and picking them up.” ~ Douglass Dunn
“I was thinking, you know, I love all these dude bands from the ’60s, and it’s like, yes, burning flesh! It tasted really really good.” ~ My friend Amy on eating fish after eight years of vegetarianism.
So first things first. The Rolling Stones, Gram Parsons, Brian Wilson, the Kinks: all gods, many dead or close to it. Straight outta Detroit, the Waxwings’ third full-length, Let’s Make Our Descent, pays homage to all of them fairly explicitly. And it’s hard listening to a band that could thrill dads across America.
Distilling ’60s and ’70s rock, the Waxwings rest a hairline fracture away from being a cover band. But deja vu, like diners and mirages, has its points. For one, these four kids are not the haggard visages flopping around in a dire parody of their former carefree selves whilst garbed in paraphernalia being sold to you for $17.99 per T-shirt. Even Brian Wilson’s cameo appearance on Ellen Degeneres’s show was just plain weird. If the Waxwings, in line with Detroit’s Von Bondies and Dirtbombs, aren’t bringing anything new to the table except a few good clean songs, they are at least bringing a few good clean songs.
As a counterpoint to the new crop of art/noise rock, the Waxwings’ music has the simple appeal of, say, a non-corporate cheeseburger. And when filet mignon or frozen cow preserved in formaldehyde are not the order of the day, rock ‘n’ roll will prevail.