Imperial Wax, the surviving members of the last and longest running edition of legendary Manchester post-punk band The Fall are set to release their debut album ‘Gastwerk Saboteurs’ on May 17, 2019 via Saustex Records. As the core of The Fall drummer Keiron Melling, bassist Dave “The Eagle” Spurr and guitarist Pete Greenway served 11 years, recording six full-length studio albums and two EP’s with Mark E Smith.
The Fall founder and vocalist Mark E Smith was a prolific, singular presence and notorious taskmaster (a Wikipedia listing cites some 66 members throughout the band’s career!!) leaving behind 31 studio albums recorded for a variety of major independents. While never a chart-topping act to tag them as “influential” would be an understatement. John Peel once described them as his favorite band "they are always different; they are always the same." Smith succumbed to lung and kidney cancer in 2018.
Following Smith’s demise the band received a number of offers to perform as The Fall with guest vocalists. Instead they decided to forge the new act Imperial Wax (named in honor of the first album they recorded with Smith, ‘Imperial Wax Solvent’). Determined to write and record new material while foregoing live appearances (save one show backing Can vocalist Damo Suzuki in an improvisational set) they recruited fellow Northerner Sam Curran as lead vocalist and second guitarist.
Soon they began making ‘Gatswerk Saboteurs’ with producer Mat Arnold (Noisettes, The Coral, Peter Gabriel, The Fall). Curran, quoted from a recent interview with Underscore Part 3 said “We all had equal part in creating the album. We upheld the work style of The Fall and went into the studio with no songs pre-written, each song grew from just a couple of riff ideas recorded on our phones. It was really testing starting the day with what was essentially nothing, but the sense of urgency really focused us because there’s literally no room left in your head to think about anything else.” Ten days later they emerged with what would become the backing tracks with lyrics and vocals added over the ensuing months.
The result is sparkling. While assuredly reminiscent of The Fall, ‘Gastwerk Saboteurs’ succeeds at blazing a new trail. Still dense, noisy and atheistic in regards to genre the approach is (slightly) more melodic and punk in vibe. With solid management and publishing deals in place the band has signed with ATC-LIVE as their booking agency and have a rapidly expanding live schedule of shows and festivals in the UK, and, following a sold-out debut show at London’s Troubadour seem poised to join the canon of great Manchester-bred acts that includes Joy Division, The Happy Mondays and The Buzzcocks.
“Sam Curran, who has the hardest job of all tonight; his job is to separate himself from the lingering ghoul of Mark E Smith. He does this in spectacular fashion. I was worried that whoever joined the group would become a cheap imitation; I’ve never felt so happy to be so wrong...Specifically, they sound like a band that should not be pigeonholed into sounding like an imitation of their former selves. The general vibe I got was a maniacal psychobilly sounding freak-show, with excruciatingly methodical mid-song jam sessions. Imperial Wax have tonight proven that they are something new, and they are something worth keeping up with.” (excerpt from live review/Salford, UK 03.09.2109) BlueJam.blog
“Excellent night, from a band who are clearly comfortable with each other, and have found an edgy, bellowing replacement for Smith. Whilst obviously and inevitably leaning on the past, this band is no Fall tribute act. From what I heard tonight, and hopefully be confirmed in May when the album drops, this is a band keen to develop their sound and move forward, perhaps now, more on their own terms than ever before.” (excerpt from live review?Leeds, UK 03.08.2019) TheRockClubUK.com
“All that matters is that Imperial Wax played an absolute blinder of a gig. Can’t wait for the album.” (excerpt from live review/Coventry, UK 03.02.2019) Fighting-Boredom.co.uk
Upcoming live appearances:
Long Division Festival
The Prince Albert
Rough Trade Bristol
Clwb Ifor Bach
Newcastle upon Tyne,UK