Wax Mannequin
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Wax Mannequin

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Folk Avant-garde


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This band has not uploaded any videos




"Part wandering minstrel, part rock animal, Wax Mannequin has combined a fine sense of the ridiculous with song writing and lyrical smarts...His impassioned delivery never wavers once throughout the entire record; in fact, it gets better with every listen...There's nothing to compare this with - Tom Waits and Type O Negative jamming on the early Beatles catalogue is as close as I can get - but even that is doing no justice to Wax Mannequin. It's a sound that's totally original." - WADE HOWLAND / Australia


"The hour has come. Today, Wax Mannequin's The Price springs itself upon the world. Clouds will blush, towers topple and seas roil. Beasts of the field will ride the backs of the creatures of the air. Honey will flow through the desert. Clown hats will rain from the sky." - CARL WILSON / Canada

"Now Magazine | Disc of the Week | JULY 2007"

Disc of the Week | JUNE 28 - JULY 4 2007 | VOL. 26 NO. 43

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.

This one-man band has such impressive control over the musical subtleties he tinkers and fucks with that an album like Orchard & Ire deserves to be listened to several times to allow everything to sink in.

It's no surprise that Mannequin has shared the stage with projects like Frog Eyes and Arcade Fire, whose dramatic style resembles his. However, with a voice that sounds like Nick Cave and Tom Waits alternately kissing and biting each other, old Waxy veers off in overtly theatrical directions while retaining a grounded rock sensibility, as on Robots, Master And Lady, where he almost conjures up something like Cave covering Biohazard at a Mr. Bungle tribute night.

Strange? Absolutely. But with all its meanderings and side roads, Orchard is a beautiful work rich in melodic structure and personality.


-Evan Davies | June 28 - July 4 2007 - Evan Davies (Disc of the Week | JUNE 28 - JULY 4 2007 | VOL. 26 NO. 43)

"Exclaim! | Pop Rocks | AUG 2007"

Previous albums hinted at the masterful genius Wax Mannequin was capable of but Orchard & Ire is the glorious bloody document of Canada’s champion of DIY making good. Retaining all his endearing idiosyncrasies while amping up the rock’n’roll bombast and polishing the wistful beauty of his folkier side, Wax has distilled his quirky essence into a boldly potent musical statement. Early album tracks like “Animals Jump” and “Price Paid” deliver fist-pumping adrenalin, the latter containing some of the most adept rock drumming an ear is likely to hear all year, with Aidan Campbell’s inventive and exuberant patterns pushing the boundaries of human ability. Careful pacing finds the rockier numbers scattered amongst more gentle fare, including the expertly plucked hypnotic guitar of “You and All Your Friends,” and album highlight “Almost Everyone,” a sparse, melody-driven, ego-fighting anthem. All the songs are vividly painted with deceptively simple levels of lyrical absurdities filtering the underlying social satire. Presenting songs that seem simple at first but reveal delightful nuance to the attentive listener is but one of Orchard & Ire’s many strengths and Wax’s ultimate gift as a songwriter. 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.

By: Scott A. Gray - Scott A. Gray

"Chartattack.com | JULY 17 2007"

WAX MANNEQUIN Orchard & Ire (Infinite Heat/Sonic Unyon)


The meow-y madman from Hamilton is back with another collection of husky guitar riffs and over-the-top molten silliness. This album plays things a bit straighter than past efforts, and the cat noises are kept to a minimum in favour of proggy fills, anthemic choruses and Wax's trademark gruff vocals. "Animals Jump," "Animals Come Home" and "Animals for Reals" examine the wild kingdom in significant detail, and Wax obviously holds some reverence for our four-legged friends. Otherwise, there are moments that recall Prism, Rush, Genesis and bands of this ilk as Wax sells the drama like only he can, garnering impressive results in the process. Make no mistake, Orchard & Ire might be a disc with a sense of humour, but Wax Mannequin definitely put a lot of heart into it and it's plenty enjoyable because of it.

By: Cameron Gordon - Cameron Gordon

"Planet S Mag | Review | AUG 2007"

Think one-man indie act, and what comes to mind? Probably yet another raggedly handsome, tortured-but-hopeful singer-songwriter plying a plaintive brand of folk-rock to a hushed crowd of hippies, right?

Not when it's Wax Mannequin.

Chris Adeney, the one-man act known as Wax Mannequin, is something different—very, very different. Indeed, Adeney's live performance essentially comes across as the equivalent of a knife fight at a ballet — which is to say, it only makes sense if you get it. Combining high dramatics with intricate songwriting, Waxy has been making quite the name for himself — albeit quite the strange one.

Wax Mannequin might be a solo act, but his music is more than strong enough to engage an entire gang of audience members. But of course, while the songs have been grabbing a lot of the buzz, it's clear that most of the talk surrounds the man's performance — and it's equally obvious that a solo act as unique as this is always bordering on becoming one giant, cheesy joke.

Wax Mannequin manages to straddle these aspects nicely, maintaining a welcome element of whimsy and coming off like some sort of modern day operatic minstrel. Hailing from the urban blight of Hamilton, Ontario, this boy has learned to take care of himself, exuding an aggression that is as much catcall bluff as it is fiercely genuine.

With his fourth album, entitled Orchard and Ire, freshly pressed on Infinite Heat Records, Wax Mannequin looks suspiciously likely to be able to maintain his momentum. Having shared the stage with past luminaries such as Arcade Fire and Frog Eyes, Mr. Adeney's eccentric take on musical opulence — something he may well have caught from the aforementioned acts by osmosis — is obviously turning some fairly important heads. - Planet S Magazine | Aug 2007

"Wolves, Hawks and Kites | AUG 18, 2007"

In 2004 Hamilton, Ontario’s Wax Mannequin (Chris Adeney) unleashed his third album, The Price, upon the indie world, and I for one stood at attention. While not perfect by any means—It suffered from a considerable lag in the second-half—the album still sewed the seeds for the emergence of a new indie-rock deity—an eccentric and strange monolith who could meow with more conviction than most singers mustered when delivering their most personal lyrics. A few random bursts of vulgarity and a gratuitous Bryan Adams reference later and I was hooked. It is now 2007 and the aforementioned seeds have born most satisfying fruit in the form of Wax Mannequin’s latest release, Orchard & Ire.

To be blunt, this album isn’t meant to save the world, but it will cure what ails you—and how! Listening to Wax Mannequin at his best is like inviting an entire rock-opera to perform in your skull. Do you take his lyrics seriously (“Animals jump. Jump up and down. To Favourite Song.”)? Is he penning the anthems of a generation? Who cares! I’m far too busy irresistibly defiling my air-guitar and watching the veins on my neck threaten to explode just trying to replicate his intensity. Sure, The Price had some of his greatest songs to date (“Tell the Doctor,” “The Price,” “Power Blaster”), but it failed to establish consistency. Orchard & Ire, on the other hand, replicates—and disperses—the palpable energy and sheer balls of the best tracks on his previous work throughout an entire album about animals, robots and apples. Not to mention that it also boasts its own share of standouts, from the stunted and catastrophic opener “Animals Jump” to the anthemic and cautionary “Robots, Master and Lady.” Actually, there is a great variety of tempo and mood presented here as well, something exemplified in the contrast between back to back tracks “Almost Everyone” and “Power Goes.” The former is slow, sparse and melodic, while the latter, with its intense keys and frenetic pace, is a real booty-shaker that could be at home in any nightclub. In fact, some of the softer numbers on this album carry just as much weight as the more upbeat rockers that we’ve come to expect from Wax. “Worrier’s Feast” is an excellent example of this, as the somber melody is undeniable and makes for an excellent album closer.

At a little under 35 minutes Orchard & Ire is not a long album and it fully uses that stealth to its advantage, not dwindling, though continuing to evoke the unequalled sense of conviction and intensity that makes Wax Mannequin such a standout. Definitely his most realized album to date, it has given his next release some massive warrior’s boots to fill. I’m proud to own this record and would be first in line for tickets to the rock opera (if only!).

Catch Wax Mannequin live at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on September 18. While you’re at it, warm up now by listening to a few tracks right here (to download, right-click and hit “save as”): - Wolves, Hawks and Kites

"Nerve Mag | Review | JULY 2007"

Orchards & Ire
Infinite Heat

The fourth full-length outing from the singularly-eccentric mad-genius Chris Adeney shows just why he, operating under his avant-garde prog-rock nom-de-plume Wax Mannequin, is the indie-rock pride of Hamilton ON - and one of the brightest talents Canada sees fit to export to the musical world at large. Orchards & Ire strikes the ears and the brain with the screaming velocity and shattering impact of an extinctifying killer asteroid…which might just be Adeney’s master plan…one never knows. Prolog track “Animals Jump” is a three minute 7/8-time sweat-shaker, mostly about beasties fighting in time to their favorite songs on the radio; “Robots, Master, and Lady” kicks things up a few more rock notches and is a fine display of Adeney’s powerful vocals, stellar guitaristry, clever arrangements, and brilliantly bizarre wordplay (much in the Don Van Vliet school of hokum hyper-intelligence) – the hallmarks of any Wax Mannequin album. Topics found on Orchards & Ire include pencils, war, how the daily news is killing you and all your friends, and more animals. Whereas his previous work was mostly handled instrumentally by Adeney himself, this time he’s backed up by rock-solid rhythm sections (bassists Adam Fogo and Mark Raymond, drummer/keyboardist Aidan Campbell, and Lily Fawn’s musical saw), and the album’s overall production is lush and full and huge…a big step up from his initial basement-demo recordings. If you thought that Wax Mannequin’s last album (2004’s masterpiece The Price) was your favorite new underground sleeper-hit album for the college dorm and the basement art gallery, think again. There’s a new Wax on the block, and he’s better than ever. Could someone please remind me exactly why Chad Kroeger keeps being awarded Junos? Hello?

-Ferdy Belland
- Ferdy Belland

"Exclaim! | Feature article | AUG 2008"

The Joy of Being Wax Mannequin
By Vish Khanna

"I think Wax Mannequin is really just laughing at all of us." Producer/engineer Andy Magoffin is discussing his friend and client Chris Adeney's alter-ego, a strange and compelling figure whose new album Saxon, is one of the sharpest bursts of surreal folk-rock to emerge this year. 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.

"I feel like I've made a great fucking record," he states boldly. "For the first time, I haven't got ahead of myself aesthetically. I think I've worked carefully within my limits instead of pushing them; it took me a long time to figure out the difference and why one is sometimes more preferable over the other."

Dichotomy and deduction are important aspects of Wax Mannequin, a name that possesses wholly distinctive connotations from one individual to the next. In feeling out his public place, Adeney has drifted from the mechanical folk of early recordings like 2002's And Gun to the full-on hard rock flirtation found on equally stellar releases like 2003's The Price and 2007's Orchard & Ire. "I think I pushed some kind of limit with my last record," he admits. "Some of the over-ambitious, self-sabotaging circuits in my brain have been burnt out. Saxon's a bit of a manifesto for the damaged, but more persistent me."

In between such documentation, Adeney has transformed himself on-stage, occasionally appearing as different people in the same town. Tour mate and collaborator Jenny "Omnichord" Mitchell fondly recalls her first encounter with Wax Mannequin, hosting a show for him at her father's thrift store in Guelph. "He was doing this persona of 'the Awkward Businessman.' He put on a suit, jogged around our parking lot, drinking bottled water, and then sang in this stiff way. We were all just staring at him during this awkward silence. Then he started meowing and I was the only one who laughed. I felt really bad because I thought he was being serious and I laughed. I know people who saw that show and never went to see him again.

"The next time I saw him, he was the 'President of the Indie Rock,' wearing a white wife-beater, frayed jeans, and a handlebar moustache," Mitchell continues. "It was the two sides of Wax Mannequin, and I've never seen a performer that requires you to go that far to understand him."

Adeney acknowledges that his artistic impulses are driven by an inherent disparity; a fight between his quiet, brooding, introspective ego, and the bizarre, over-the-top, aggressive id that surfaces so forcefully. Growing up in his Hamilton household, Adeney interpreted normalcy differently than his peers. "My mom's an artist and she makes boxes out of clay with bolts and chains and things," he recalls. "Throughout my youth, I'd ask her what she was doing and she'd just explain that she was making a box with worms that are being cut open, or tying up a plastic baby inside of a smoke-fired clay box. I think I instinctively picked up on the whimsy of what she was doing — that it was dark and disturbing but somehow was not to be taken entirely seriously. That's informed what I do to a certain extent."

In his second year of art school, Adeney lost interest in his studies and took to music, capturing melodies and lyric fragments floating through his head with the aid of a guitar. Artists like Don Ross, Bruce Cockburn, Robert Fripp, and even Stan Rogers inspired Adeney to play out more. While working in Ottawa as a telephone salesman, he conjured his vivid moniker. "I came up with the name when I was reading a lot of philosophy in university and watching old re-runs. The 'Wax' comes from Descartes — something to do with wax melting but retaining its essential form. And the kid's show, Today's Special, had a mannequin where, if you put a hat on his head, he'd start dancing around. I've been wearing hats at my shows in honour of that."

Slowly gaining confidence, Wax Mannequin went back and forth from Ottawa to Hamilton for gigs, including hometown opening slots for artists like ….And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead and Mecca Normal. "I kinda figured that I could do what these guys were doing," Adeney explains. "Tour hard for a while all over the place and then stop and see what turns life took."

For his first cross-Canada tour in 2003, Wax Mannequin quit his job, programmed backing tracks on a drum-and-bass sequencer, and turned himself into an odd one-man show. The auspicious trip was the first of many he'd relish making across Canada, Europe, and Australia, as touring became an integral aspect of his work. "You come back sharper, drunker, and able to make everyone dance," he says. "It's like Dungeons & Dragons where you go on adventures and go up levels. You get better at totally unrelated skills just because you get experience points for doing other things."

In time, Adeney recruited like-minded souls in Mark Raymond and Aidan Campbell, musicians who, until recently, would sporadically form his band. Now, with the release of Saxon, Adeney can't imagine Wax Mannequin without them. "That's why I credited this album to Wax Mannequin and Black Blood. Y'know how in Evil Dead 2, when shit really starts going down and Ash starts going crazy and awesome and all this black blood starts spraying all over his face? That's where I'm at now; things are more rabid, fierce, and indestructible. And that's how working with this band makes me feel."

Indeed, Wax Mannequin's Saxon may be markedly focused and invigorating, but it was still borne of absurdity. "It seemed like the process was extremely funny to him," engineer Magoffin reveals. "When Wax was working on lyrics or testing out ways to sing, he was giggling to himself, like he was in on some joke that a lot of people will never get. He would giggle, as though he was a first-time listener of his own music; it amused him to ponder the affect that it would have on people. He's called it 'persona rock,' what he does, but I think there's bits of the real human Wax Mannequin poking through here and there on this new record. It's a lot easier to take it the right way on its musical merits without having to figure out what this guy is all about."

As for Adeney, he simply hopes to do Wax Mannequin justice with Saxon. "I just want to represent this album as true as we can. It's the record I always wanted to make or knew I'd make eventually. Through all the turmoil I've gone through musically, it's all been leading to this." - Vish Khanna

"VUE WEEKLY | Saxon Review | Sep, 2009"

Wax Mannequin

Fawnda Mithrush // fawnda@vueweekly.com

Known to his mother as Chris Adeney, Wax Mannequin defies any sort of generic music categorization. Unapologetically dramatic and somewhat morbid in his poetry, Adeney's raspy drone comes across like the charming lovechild of Tom Waits and Bob Wiseman. Saxon is more toned down than Wax's previous two rock-style releases, and it's a very welcome shift to the soft-seat side. “Treading Water” is the standout ballad, short but dark and wistful. It's followed by an emotive cover of Geoff Berner's “Volcano God.” The guitar churns emotive tinkles throughout—the solemn, folky sound rounded out with the help of the back-up band, Black Blood—while Adeney coos softly over tightly woven metaphors. A clever, bewitching listen from the very first spin.

Wax Mannequin
4 stars - Fawnda Mithrush


No Safe Home [summer 2012]
Saxon [summer 2009]
Orchard and Ire [2007]
The Price [2004]
and Gun [2002]
Wax Mannequin [2000]



Strange-folk phenomenon Wax Mannequin is well-travelled. He has crossed a wide range of terrain -- both sonic and physical -- this decade past. 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 bedroom recording and began a series intense, confrontational shows 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 yet earnest lyrics were delivered emphatically over distorted electric guitar and bombastic electronic accompaniment. In the struggle of travel and survival, Wax's cerebral performance-art urges were torn asunder, like bloody roses ripped from the flesh and thrown to the multitude. Between 2004 and 2008 he released two band-backed rock records -- 'The Price' (2004) and 'Orchard and Ire' (2007) -- that captured the vein-busting fervour and strange charisma of his live show.

In 2009, Wax Mannequin released 'Saxon' -- an expectedly odd and captivating collection of songs that, for the most part, returned to more acoustic, contemplative timbres of his early work. This ambitious and eclectic work is unified by its melodic 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, Saxon continues to find new audiences overseas and it is planned for re-release on Germany's Artfull Sounds record label.

Wax Mannequin has recently released his sixth record 'No Safe Home', and has once again abandoned the trappings of his newly domesticated life in favour of wayward travel. In this hauntingly spacious, sparsely produced 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 whispered with bewilderment and reverence in art galleries, garages and rock pubs throughout Canada and Europe, Wax Mannequin continues 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 arra