An Axe
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An Axe

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"An Axe: She is Dust – album review"

Bristol’s An Axe have just put out their first self-released full-length album. Chris Hearn takes a listen and likes what he hears.

Dark, moody, stylish, sexy 50'??s revival music is what Bristol'??s An Axe makes. Rather than bashing you over the head with a heavy rock-a-billy explosion (although at times they can let go pretty decently), these guys work more with the subtleties of the genre. They make fine music that would fit in well in a Quentin Tarantino or David Lynch film, or one of those flicks where the prom queen and the football player die in a horrible car accident in their 57 Chevy convertible on a dark winding road, mysteriously!

Vocals are killer; deep, dark, sultry and sufficiently creepy at times. Instrumentally, there is great reverbed 50s style surf guitar that Duane Eddy or Dick Dale would totally dig. Itâ??s not a minimalist album by any means, but the instruments don'??t overwhelm. The vocals and guitar are keys to creating the mood. I like this style of music. It reminds me of bands like Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet and Huevos Rancheros who I used to love to see live and still listen to quite a bit. So, this style definitely sits well with me.

Simply put, these guys are just cool as ice. They have a wicked infectious sound. This is their first full length release and it has a mature, polished, tight sound. They have been together for 4 years (although they lost their piano player 2010) so they have a few years behind them, and a couple of EPs as well that you can get on their bandcamp page.



If I were to pick a favourite, I would have to say that don'??t try to make me pick. That'??s so unfair. Let'??s put it this way, I haven'??t found a song on here that I don'??t like. They are all good. This is one of those albums that works as a whole. ‘Son of Swan’ is fantastically dark and enthralling. ‘The Emerald Locust’ is one of the more rocked up songs and I love the guitar work on this, and especially the noodling around with sounds towards the end. Album closer ‘A Blooding at the Lodge’ sounds pretty much exactly like that title would imply: murderously dark.



Apparently, ??'An Axe'??s live shows are building a reputation for being thunderous and raw, yet always suavely decorated and not short of sense of decorum and seedy style.'?? Ooooooo. Sounds deliciously good! I just wish I could find video evidence of it somewhere online that I can check out and share with you, but no such luck. Oh well, at least I can give you the opportunity to hear them!

So, ya, there you have it. An Axe is good. If you like your music moody, dark and rooted in the 50's, then you have come to the right band! I like these guys and hope to hear much more from them in the future. They bring yesterday?'s sounds into the present and beyond!

If you are so inclined, might I suggest you check An Axe out on Facebook, twitter, Soundcloud and bandcamp where you can get this album and some of their older stuff as well! - Louder Than War


Discography

Album - She is Dust (Released November 2012)

Available to stream at http://anaxe.bandcamp.com/

The Destructo EP - Collates our 2010 singles Destructo!/Cherry and Love, My Evil/Let Law Be Upheld

Available to stream at http://anaxe.bandcamp.com/album/the-destructo-ep

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Bio

Bristol-based An Axe began life around 4 years ago as a haunting slo-core shanty quartet. After their piano player left in 2010, one guitarist switched to baritone guitar to fill out the missing low end. At the same time, they began to delve into a wider array of their influences - Nick Cave, Roy Orbison, Elvis, Joy Division, Ennio Morricone and Shellac.

As a consequence, their rickety stylings began to evolve into a faster, louder, cheekier and more guitar-driven beast. They emerged as a clattering surf/rock‘n’roll/post-punk trio and released two double A-side singles (‘Cherry/Destructo!’ and ‘Love My Evil/Let Law Be Upheld’) in late 2010. The singles drew favourable reviews and flattering comparisons - ‘The Gun Club flick-knife duelling with Bad Seeds’ (Venue magazine) and ‘If Ian Curtis had ever visited a beach, An Axe would have been his surfing soundtrack’ (Live Music Scene). The singles were a chance to showcase the new sound and hinted at the direction their debut album ‘She is Dust’ would take.

With this record, An Axe have grown into an even more exciting and exuberant proposition - combining noisy twanging 50s guitars, reverbed baritone guitar, pounding drums and seedy crooning. ‘She is Dust’ takes the blueprint of the singles and ups the weight, texture and sleazy style to a bigger and bolder conclusion. This is a strident, colourful record that draws An Axe’s many influences into a cohesive whole.

An Axe’s live shows are building a reputation for being thunderous and raw, yet always suavely decorated and not short of sense of decorum and seedy style.