San Francisco-based indie-folk duo Wax Moon recently released their debut full-length album, Hello Morning, the outcome of more than three years of writing, performing, and musical evolution.
According to Wax Moon’s Paul Kimball, “Our first LP is also Wax Moon’s first ‘studio album,’ recorded in the garage of John’s Outer Sunset apartment over the course of 2 years [and held up for another due to the global pandemic]. We leaned on John’s strengths as a recording engineer and multi-instrumentalist, as well as bringing his songwriting and lead vocals (on 5 of the 9 songs) upfront. It’s a substantial shift sonically, though the through-line from our earlier EPs is also clear; harmony singing and interlaced acoustic guitars are still key elements of our sound.”
The other ‘half’ of Wax Moon, John Blatchford, shares, “This LP contains a lot of firsts for us. It’s the first time I’ve contributed songs to a Wax Moon recording. It’s the first time we are using the studio as a tool instead of a space. It’s also the first time we are overdubbing and working with other musicians like Ryan, Paolo, and Jesse. I think that sense of exploration comes across in the sound of the record.”
Kimball (vocals, guitar), who played with country-rock outfit Careless Hearts, and Blatchford (vocals, guitar, dobro, banjo, keyboards, clarinet), who was a member of The Mumlers and Doctor Nurse, got together after performing as a duo for the first time at a friend’s wedding. Releasing their debut EP, Ready or Not, in 2015, they followed with 2016’s Cool Blue Heat, a five-track EP.
Embracing nine tracks, the album starts off with the title track, opening on gentle, shiny colors topped by the pair’s delicious voices in duet. Full of optimistic flavors, the tune presents the charming beginning of a new day.
Highlights include “Montana,” riding a country-tinted melody composed of soft guitars and a tasty rolling bassline. Twangy tones imbue the tune with down-home magical, drawling textures. “Feather From a Gun,” reminiscent of Neil Young, features elevated timbres merging with slightly rasping tones, giving the lyrics flavors of melancholy and nostalgic recollection. There’s a bewitching quality to this song, compelling listeners to take note.
“Can’t Afford to Fall,” delivers hushed tension, as if waiting for something portentous to occur, whereas “I Wanna Believe You” travels on darker colors, rife with oozing scope and filaments of suspicion.
With Hello Morning, Wax Moon offers enchanting indie folk music. Full of lush harmonies and appealing melodies, this is a superb album – mellow and gorgeous.