ALBUM REVIEW: Imperial Wax – Tranquilliser | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

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Guesswork Records

Released: 09.02.24







When Imperial Wax formed in 2018, they brought with them a formidable reputation as the much-admired final line-up of The Fall, credited with bringing sheer, visceral energy and raw power to the closing chapter of the lengthy, always fascinating career of Mark E. Smith’s ever-evolving avant-punk group.

Guitarist Pete Greenway, bassist Dave Spur and drummer Keiron Melling recruited vocalist Sam Curran and the quartet released their debut album Gastwerk Saboteurs to considerable acclaim in 2019. Since then, Shane Standrill has joined on bass following the departure of Dave Spur and Pete Greenway, having been heavily involved in the writing and recording of new album Tranquilliser, has sadly had to take a break from the band due to ill-health. The current line-up includes former Cabbage guitarist Joe Martin and former Fall bassist Simon ‘Ding’ Archer on synths.

Perhaps reflecting the trials and tribulations the group have faced over the last four years, Tranquilliser in a dark, turbulent and unrelenting album, driven by intense, downstroked guitar riffing and almost martial drumming, bound together by Standrill’s eye-of-the-storm bass-playing. Curran’s literate lyrics and aggressive vocals are suitably simpatico with the group’s raging, post-punk garage rock. This is an album designed to be played loud and probably best experienced live, so look out for any upcoming tour dates.


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