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.