Much like their 2015 debut, Holy Sick, the songs of Brisbane quintet WAAX's new EP, Wild & Weak, structure around the remarkable vocal presence of Marie DeVita. Similarly, the group once more mine the midpoint between punk aggression and pop accessibility. DeVita masterfully controls that balance, mirroring a Brody Dalle-like attitude at times as she sharply oscillates between strained blood-curdling screams and plainspoken snarls. The latter — assisted by sparser, cleared spaces throughout — amplifies the stronger lyrical weight this time out, with DeVita frequently landing devastatingly economical one-liners ("I forgot I had a face", "I choke on words" et al.). The general, adaptable ambiguity of which (and that "I" commonality) provides insight into the EP's underlying theme, as DeVita explains.
"Our first EP was a lot more external, so it felt like the next evolutive step was to explore my inner workings and coincidentally a timely post-traumatic deep-hole started forming within me," the singer says, adding that "Wild & Weak isn't just an EP to us. It's a process."
As such, the EP's five tracks cover the "five stages I blindly navigated through when I was starting to come to terms with some pretty heavy mental health issues," as DeVita explains. Those five stages take her (and us) from denial to acceptance — via the steps of disorientation, pattern and discussion — providing a, somewhat unexpected, cathartic platform.
"I struggle with [mental health issues] everyday, and I find it weird that I'm so open about them to the wider public, yet I can't even explain it to my own family. Consider this an open invitation to know how fucked I can be, anonymously."
Wild & Weak, due June 2nd and exclusively premiering today via Rolling Stone Australia, will be following up by a run of national dates, starting at the end of this month and running throughout July; full details below.
WAAX 'Wild & Weak' National Tour
Friday, June 30th: Cats @ Rocket Bar, Adelaide
Saturday, July 1st: The Gasometer, Melbourne (sold out)
Sunday, July 2nd; The Gasometer, Melbourne
Friday, July 7th: Crowbar, Brisbane
Saturday, July 8th: Currie St Crawl, QLD Music Festival, Nambour
Wednesday, July 12th: Sosueme @ Beach Road, Bondi
Thursday, July 13th: Snakepit @ Proud Mary’s, Erina
Friday, July 14th: Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
Saturday, July 15th: Rad, Wollongong
Saturday, July 29th: Jack Rabbit Slims, Perth