Music

Harry Permezel Resists Melting Down on ​'Wax Man​' (album stream)

Jedd Beaudoin
Photo courtesy of Tell All Your Friends, PR

Australian singer-songwriter Harry Permezel's wildly imaginative, deeply introspective and, yes, fun second release arrives May 4.

Wax Man is the sophomore album from Melbourne, Australia native Harry Permezel. At times reminiscent of Beck's most introspective work (think: Sea Change) or the deeply meditative and thoughtful work of Canadian genius Ron Sexsmith, the record also revels in its delightful weirdness, its way of rendering seemingly common emotions strange and making the strange more familiar. There are anxieties about the unknowns of the future, isolation among the masses and finding hope even in the darkest moments.

Though lo-fi is an easy reach when describing Permezel's work, that sells it short. Sure, you'll find strange, wonderful noises and whispery passages that summon warm memories of Guided By Voices or Sebadoh but there's something grander, more ambitious at work here. It's as if Permezel believes, with all the wonderful wonder of childhood dreaming, that one can transform their bedroom into Abbey Road or Capitol Studios, that you can make Pet Sounds or Revolver within reach of the twin bed and dresser. And maybe you can.

What one may not have predicted is the high yield of quality compositions here. Though "all killer, no filler" may be a tired, ridiculous maxim and one that Permezel would presumably never be caught dead uttering, it still applies. The gorgeous piano figures of "Sunshine" feels like a new best friend, "Of New Errors" perfectly captures the feeling of once familiar feelings getting tossed into another dimension where they become a cacophonous jumble that's hard to manage. Elsewhere, "Bonehead" and "Turn Their Faces" prove excellent fodder for turning your pals onto Permezel's particular charms.

For all the pain and confusion that circles around the characters and songs of Wax Man, there is great strength and determination as well, signs of, as the sign above your dad's desk in his ramshackle den read, a genius at work.

Wax Man is out May 4 via Muscle Beach.

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