WAAX - Big Grief


WAAX are a five-piece rock band from Brisbane, Australia, formed in 2013 by lead vocalist Marie DeVita. They gained a newfangled fame after opening as a supporting act for Fall Out Boy, and have been working hard throughout the years towards the release their latest album, Big Grief - which does a stellar job at incorporating the dynamics and angst of a female fronted rock band.

Opening with the title track, Big Grief, right off the bat the theme is apparent to the listener. Somehow, we have ended up in a world that seems to walk all over us and “spit us out like coal.” Its values and priorities seem to lay in the wrong places.

“Where am I now?
I can’t believe I’m in a world that likes to burn
and spit you out, like coal.”

The use of distortion pedals and messy guitar strumming adds a particular DIY grunge sound. It is a fist in the air to those who are feeling like the world is against them and just seem like they can’t catch a break, with a melody that makes you want to dance and let loose - the contrast between lyrics and music creating a bittersweet juxtaposition.

The album progresses with previously released single “Labrador”, the song hitting your ears with an immediate switch of emotions. It’s angry, anthemic vibe stirs up similarities between their older EPs, and is closely followed by No Apology, a favourite of many.

“Sometimes I wanna scream down the city
I wanna give no apology.”

It feels like it’s about letting loose and not worrying about having to please others, incorporating catchy riffs and a melodious, upbeat chorus. The theme of the album continues through to the next track, “FU.” Like the previous three songs, this song is loud and raw. However, this one comes with an underlying seriousness, and as we move into next track “History”, we experience a softer sound, beginning with a very subtle guitar riff and speeding up at just the right place. It catches the listener off-guard and is a refreshing change in pace - the same going for “Changing Face.” WAAX incorporate an element of acoustic here, lending a more personal feel ot the listener. Although I prefer the gritty feel of the majority of the album, I can’t rule this song out as one of my favorites.

We centre back into the classic WAAX sound with “Fade” and “Little Things”, with melodious riffs and buildups create all-round catchy and appealing strains. The lyric “It’s the little things, I become alive” jumps out at me, seeming to suggest instead of overthinking and finding other ways to 'self medicate', we can find the “little things” to make us feel more alive.

The album eventually concludes with closing track “I.D.K.W.I.F.L.”, leaving us with a gritty outro and open-ended thought:

“Will I ever grow up to what I’m supposed to be?
Cause now I’m more anxious than I have ever been.”

“Big Grief” seems to have something for everyone. From its initial title track to the more tender sounds of “History” and “Changing Face,” this album offers a wide scope of vocal melodies and anthemic choruses. Each song flows perfectly into the next, leaving you wanting more every time. Their passions and values are set in stone without forceful feeling, and it’s evident that this album acts as the bridge from a small local Aussie band to a powerful punk group ready to take whatever their career has to throw at them. It feels like the beginning of something truly great for WAAX, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.