Sponge's eponymous album hews more closely to grunge, although their interpretation is more nuanced; one would never call them a punk band. But with Wax Ecstatic, they take their interpretation to its logical conclusion. I don't know if there is such a thing as southern gothic rock, but if there is, this album is it. They are unafraid to be soft when it's called for, but they can still tear the roof off with screaming fury. Some compare them to Bowie or put them in with glam, and there's certainly an element of that here, but this isn't a David Bowie cover band.
The sound couldn't be what it is without Vinnie Dombroski's voice (which may explain why he's the only member of the original band still in the band today). I don't know how to describe it except by comparison: it's Hedwig and the Angry Inch (actually, Sponge doing a recording of all of those songs would be an album I would buy in a heartbeat) combined with a little Johnny Rotten and topped off with some Bowie...
It is now 2005, almost 10 years since this CD was released. I pulled it out again for the 1st time in about 2 years and listed to it while doing yard work...three times in succession. I still cannot believe how this gem has gone unnoticed by the general public. In my opinion, it is one of the top CD's released in the 1990's. I still vividly remember being at work and having the riff to Wax Estatic blow me away the 1st time I heard it on the radio. After finding out who it was, I bought the CD as soon as I could.
I think this CD at least 1-1/2 stars better than their debut Rotting Pinata. They had balls to put out a concept album with their second release, but unfortunately, it was lost in the musical void that was '96. I think with more time passing, the Bowie and Roxy Music glam influence is even more noticeable, especially given the drag queen theme. The opening trio of My Purity, Got to be a Bore, and Wax Estatic still hit like a punch in the face. The rest of...
Yet another misappreciated or unappreciated gem from '96. Detroit's entrant in the post-Cobain-suicide grunge feeding frenzy took off from their rote, angst-by-numbers debut Rotting Pinata & made what some have gone on to pronounce the first salvo in the glam revival. Specifically, I'd assume, given the wistful but inspired take on transvestism that the band presents in Drag Queens of Memphis, Death of a Drag Queen, & perchance even Velveteen (pick the better album closer: this or Butterfly...). Additionally, though, there is also a power in the chugging guitar of the opening My Purity & Silence Is Their Drug. Here, the guitarists --- it's been a long time since I read the liner notes, so I forget the names --- treat their instruments as that extension of their anatomy, we all know which one, a la NY Dolls, KISS, Aerosmith, or any of the 70s greats, glam & non-glam & pseudoglam. & then there are the effecting tracks, I Am Anastasia & Have You Seen Mary? Having beaten our heads...
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