Wax Wings (2017) is the sophomore album of spiritual Chicago rockers Post Child, and it’s the second album which shows exactly how much promise this young Midwestern group has. On a sonic level, you’ll hear impeccable songwriting, aggressively lush guitar work, and a clockwork tight rhythm section propelled through 90’s Rock and Roll paradigm. As if this wasn’t enough reason to listen to the album, the band has an personable identity that transcends it’s already unique sonic qualifiers; a total ideology that lies somewhere in between new-age mysticism and psychological self-dissection.
While the album is strong from back to front, (especially when listened to as a whole) stand out rippers “It Never Ends” and “Free Alchemy” demonstrates the band’s threshold for heaviness; heavy rock riffage that lands somewhere in between a ragged Weezer and a subdued Nirvana. Both songs have enough hooks to serve the audience without gumming up the works with saccharine sub-context:
The three catchiest pop standards, “Getting Closer”, “The All Seeing”, and “Fake Sex” have the same impossibly genuine lyrics laid across what could be billboard chart toppers circa 1995. Wax Wings jumps from jittery peaks like on “Mercury Rock” to relaxing valleys such as “June”, a track which would feel at home on The Smashing Pumpkin’s “Twilight to Starlight“… but only If Billy Corgan had a sense of grounded human relativity.
Overall, this is an album that wasn’t built with novelty in mind. There is no sense of fashionable compromise, just a product comfortable with it’s own identify. Songwriter, Singer and Guitarist Bryan Alvarez was kind enough to spend some time answering questions for us about Wax Wings:
MWA: “Wax Wings” seems like it was designed to be an album enjoyed as a whole…What is the contextual thread that binds these songs together?
Bryan: With this album I wanted to do something that was more meaningful and personal to me then the previous album. When I was writing it I spent a lot of time reading books on meditation and esoteric philosophy. I was learning how through art we can essentially purge ourselves of emotions and ideas that don’t serve us in a healthy way. Through this process we are able to transmute the mind, restructuring it into something more organized and better. I spent a lot of time looking at who I used to be by looking forward and seeing who I’ve become. It was actually a very cathartic experience. It actually took so long to write and record these songs to satisfaction I almost thought it would never come out. There’s a definite psycho-magical aether that binds this whole thing together.
MWA: The band seems to have a special connection to Mysticism itself. What role does this have in your music?
Bryan: Mysticism is an interesting subject, something that I think plays a large role in the creation of art. The path of the mystic is to attain union or a sense of one-ness through trance or meditation. This is versus magic which is more about manifesting specific outcomes. Music is interesting because it falls right in the middle. Even in rock or punk music one can attain both depending on the intention you as an artist are putting out. The mystical path is not relegated to the ascetic but to the artist willing to put themselves out there in an honest way. Post Child came out of the ashes of a previous band, the main goal being for me to have an artistic and musical output unburdened by others. But still, I’m lucky to have such good musicians in the band that allow me to have this expression, all while they get to transform my songs into something bigger and better than the music would be otherwise. It’s a mystical endeavor certainly, but with the power of having the four us creating something we can all enjoy. That’s magic, man.
MWA: Are any of these songs written about a specific experience? Can you tell me that story?
Bryan: A lot of this album does come from specific experiences. But to me what’s more interesting than things happening and writing a song about it was looking at the meaningful context that underlies them. And when you look at those underlying subtleties it becomes hard to separate them from the society that helped shape them. So in that sense it’s not even about specific things happening but how someone is changed by them in a large perspective. Love, loss of innocence, wild imagination, psychedelic states, family, political climate, childhood, and the future, and how these things somehow fit together is what it’s about. To me there’s a sense of “realism” to this album. But other parts are kind of surreal. It’s kind of an “unrealism” if you will. But the short answer, I think it’s better to just let the listener interpret the song for themselves rather than telling them what it’s about. I think they can find the connection and meaning that’s important to them.
MWA: How did you record the album?
Bryan: We recorded the majority of the album live at Kildare Studios in Logan Square with Joe Gac behind the board. This took 3 days. Overdubs were done sporadically over the following couple of months. This included lead and rhythm guitars, vocals, violin and cello, acoustic guitar, as well as fixing anything that needed to be fixed. Mixing and mastering were done throughout this time frame as well. It took quite some time. We recorded 19 tracks in total, using 10 for the album.
MWA: What are some of your personal favorite lyrics from the album?
Bryan: Honestly, writing lyrics for me can be really difficult sometimes. I’ll usually rewrite lyrics a few times over before I’m happy with them. I like Fake Sex and Getting Closer, but I think Daydream has the most meaningful lyrics to me on the whole album. There’s a certain vulnerability to that song that I think sums up the album nicely. Some lines here and there throughout are so real to me that it can be difficult to sing them in front of people. When we recorded the vocals to Daydream we turned off all the lights so I didn’t have to see anyone while I was singing it. The first time we played that song live I’m pretty sure we weirded out the entire room.
MWA: What was the recording process like? Did anything fun happen during the sessions?
Bryan: To set the mood we turned the lights real low, lit a bunch of candles and incense, and really concentrated on listening to each other. There’s a bunch of photos from this session that comes with the digital booklet and also on our Instagram. (Meat wave) filmed a music video during the second day of recording. You can see us in the “Cosmic Zoo” video in the background.
Post Child is currently working on a follow up album and playing live shows regularly around Chicago. You can catch them Thursday, June 29th at Quenchers saloon for the Milked Album Release.