Strange-folk phenomenon Wax Mannequin is well-travelled. He has traversed a range sonic and physical terrain this past decade. Through his catalogue of secretly renowned recordings and his riotous live performances at countless venues and festivals, Wax continues to bring his essential voice and vision to both sides of the Atlantic. His legend grows through word-of-mouth as his music is passed from hand-to-hand — his influence trickles down from the minds of wayward kindred souls, insidiously seeping into the poetic heart of this country.
Chris Adeney adopted the moniker Wax Mannequin in 2001 when he released a strange, circuit bent psych-folk bedroom recording and began a series confrontational, awkwardly interactive but decidedly feel-good performances around his province. In 2003, with the release of his second album ‘and Gun’, Wax hit the trans-Canadian road where his performances took on a decidedly harder edge — absurd lyrics delivered with persuasive earnestly over distorted finger-style nylon string guitar and trashy electronic accompaniment. In the struggle of travel and survival, Wax’s more alienating performance-art urges were abated, like bloody roses ripped from the skin and tossed to the multitude. Between 2004 and 2008 he released two band-backed rock records — ‘The Price’ (2004) and the more prog-infused ‘Orchard and Ire’ (2007) — that captured the vein-busting fervour and strange charisma of his live show.
In 2009, and 2012 respectively Wax Mannequin released ‘Saxon’ and ‘No Safe Home’– two expectedly odd and captivating collections of songs that, for the most part, return to acoustic, contemplative timbres of his early work. These ambitious and eclectic collections are unifiedmelodic craft, gritty tonality, and darkly whimsical lyrics, winning critical praise and longevity on both sides of the Atlantic. With influences as varied as Talking Heads, Ween, Frank Zappa, Towns Van Zandt, and Will Oldham, the companion records of Saxon and No Safe Home continue to find new audiences overseas on Germany’s Artfull Sounds record label and in Canada through Zunior/Outside.
As Wax Mannequin prepares to release his seventh full-length later this year, he abandons the trappings of domesticated life in favour of wayward travel. In this as-yet-unnamed, hauntingly spacious, acoustic record, Wax uses his raspy and road-broken guitar to provide a thoughtful glimpse into the psyche of our age, or at least into his own paranoid yet endearingly self-aware interpretation of our place and time.
While his personal idiosyncrasies, lyrical depth and other-worldly melodic sensibilities have kept Wax Mannequin safely out of mass-appeal, they also make him impossible to dismiss or forget. With a name that is muttered with alternating bewilderment, scorn and reverence in galleries, garages and pubs throughout Canada and Europe, Wax Mannequin continues defiantly and indefinitely to bring his timeless brand of strange folk and absurdist pop music to the far reaches of the western world.
Praise for No Safe Home:
“It’s a collection of truly contemplative tales that continue to show off his incredible talent and deep connection to both this country and his craft.”
– National Music Centre (nmc.ca) | August 2012
“From emotional lamentations and serenades to whistling campfire melodies, every second of this record is masterfully crafted. While he’s diverged once again from his past albums, he’s still set himself apart from the rest of the music out there. Start to finish, No Safe Home is a gorgeous piece of work.?”
– indieroundtable.com | August 2012
“Hamilton’s Wax Mannequin has moved toward his folkier side on his sixth album. No Safe Home, [is a] cohesive and mellow, almost miniature, album… 4/5”
– Now Magazine (Toronto) | August 2012
“With the release of his sixth full length album, No Safe Home, Hamilton’s Wax Mannequin further solidifies his status as one of Canada’s best kept folk secrets. ”
– snobsmusic.net | August 2012
“Wax Mannequin’s inventions are boundlessly enthralling… Though No Safe Home is fairly stripped down instrumentally, Chris Adeney’s lyrical pacing tip-toes the borders of certainty and delirium in such an enchanting manner that the music at times feels like a delicate accompaniment to his fabulist’s canter. ”
– Southernsouls.ca | August 2012
“No Safe Home, the sixth album from freak folk experimentalist Wax Mannequin — the alter-ego of Hamilton singer/songwriter Chris Adeney — is an ink-black sonic exploration that picks up where 2009’s Saxon left off.?…Anchored by Adeney’s wry, observational songwriting, No Safe Home is designed to be listened to as a whole.?”
– Uptown Magazine (Winnipeg) Feature Interview | August 2012
“Ce virage du rock vers le folk peut surprendre. L’effet d’étonnement est minime si on le compare aux très grandes qualités de songwriter de Wax Mannequin. No Safe Home est un des meilleurs disques de l’année, cette nouvelle approche fait ressortir de si belles qualités de l’oeuvre de Chris Adeney.?
– 500khz | August 2012
“The combination of sparse production, careful arrangements, and Adeney’s deeply personal lyrics create a sense of intimacy. From the opening bars of “Black Bells,” No Safe Homegrabs the listener and keeps them close throughout a solid collection of well-crafted and brooding folk songs.”
– The Gateway (University of Alberta) | Augst 2012
“The stark presentation of sound is a big change for Wax, but the emotion he presents still weighs a ton. No Safe Home hits the streets on August 5th, and it’s a beauty.”
– Herohill.com | July 2012
Praise for Wax Mannequin’s 2009 release, Saxon
“For nearly a decade, Hamilton ON’s Wax Mannequin has toiled in relative obscurity, bringing his amalgam of electro-folk and post-modern classic rock to different continents and as many real and makeshift venues as possible. That hard worn, roundabout path brings us to the masterful Saxon, an earnest batch of songs, most of which are performed on classical guitar and blend Wax Mannequin’s trademark theatricality and darkly humorous perspective like nothing he’s ever issued.”
– Exclaim! (Canada) | feature interview/review | August 2009
“I could start off with a catch-all like ‘shockingly good songwriter’ or ‘eclectic artist,’ and while that would partly describe Hamilton’s Wax Mannequin, it would do the man a great disservice to leave it at that.”
-Now Magazine (Toronto)| Disc of the Week | JUNE 28 – JULY 4 2007 | VOL. 26 NO. 43?
“By training his inner animal enough to let it run free with his muse, Wax Mannequin has given birth to a brilliant bestial gem of audio mythology.”
-Exclaim! (Toronto/Canada) | Review of ‘Orchard and Ire’ | August 2007
“Part wandering minstrel, part rock animal, Wax Mannequin combines a fine sense of prog-rock parody with intense sincerity and lyrical smarts. He will indoctrinate you with chilling harmonies, absurd lyrics and the almighty power of the guitar.”
– dB Magazine (Australia) | September 2004
More Press on the SonicBids Press Page.
Wax Mannequin – Yes Man
Aidan Campbell – Percussion
Mark Raymond – Bass