Today New Zealand’s Wax Chattels announce their cathartic sophomore album, Clot, out September 25 via Captured Tracks and Flying Nun Records. Along with the announcement the band shares the first single “No Ties.” Amanda Cheng (bass/vocals), who is Hoklo Taiwanese, expresses in the melodic single the experience of being a first generation immigrant and not having a personal relationship with extended family. The song touches on cultural differences and the parental sacrifice of careers and support systems to provide a “better” future for their children.
Cheng says, “Being a first generation immigrant, I’ve never had a personal connection with my extended family. There’s an incomparable loneliness rooted in this — I think the weight of parental sacrifice and cultural estrangement is difficult for other Kiwis to understand. ‘No Ties’ comes from these frustrations, and the helpless desperation of watching the present-day political confrontations in my other, would-have-been, home.”
After a knock-out entrée with 2018’s self-titled LP, the anticipation that surrounds Clot is immense. Much like Wax Chattels, the writing process for Clot took the best part of a year. While some songs were written on the road, the bulk of the album was workshopped throughout 2019 across bedrooms and storage containers. Demos were fine-tuned before taking them to the studio to be recorded by James Goldsmith (Aldous Harding, Mermaidens). Wax Chattels maintained the use of only the barest of ingredients — bass guitar, keyboard, and a two-piece drum kit — but the group spent more time experimenting with and finding new sounds. They wanted to maintain the same live element as in their debut, but, this time, heavier — for which they enlisted the help of mixing engineer, and fellow noise-maker, Ben Greenberg (Uniform, Destruction Unit, The Men). A marked step-up, this new record keeps the visceral energy of the debut, only this time they dig deeper into cathartic noise. Clot’s inspiration — or, rather, frustration — came from the doomy, gloomy corners of Auckland’s underbelly, and the theme of confrontation is central.
It is universally agreed that Wax Chattels are a must-see live act; their hypnotically sinister debut captured this perfectly. Released in 2018 and supported by relentless touring, the eponymous album reached #7 on the Official New Zealand Album Charts, and release week saw the title feature as #1 in Rough Trade’s Top 20 New Releases. Tastemakers like NPR and A.V. Club came on as early champions. The album’s success at home and abroad led to the well-deserved nomination of Best Alternative Artist at the 2018 New Zealand Music Awards, as well as the band’s inclusion in the coveted shortlist of finalists for the Taite Music Prize and Auckland Live Best Independent Debut Award.