David Wax Museum garnered praise in 2011 upon releasing "Everything Is Saved." The album features Wax -- who hails originally from Columbia, Mo. -- often armed with a guitar-like instrument, called a jarana, while singer/fiddler Suz Slezak adds some percussion on quijada, an instrument constructed from a donkey's jawbone. For their work on "Everything Is Saved," critics lauded the band's ability to marry disparate influences. Now with "Knock Knock Get Up" David Wax Museum squeezes in even more indie sound to create a record with a wide appeal.
"Knock Knock Get Up" expands and contracts with the emotional power congruent with Wax's musical, amorous and spiritual wanderings. From the far away shimmer of a Latin radio station's hum comes "Will You Be Sleeping," full of Caribbean organ stabs and warm strumming. The chorus's breezy dual vocals are complemented by a trumpet lick that resembles a ska line. "Harder Before It Gets Easier" grandly swells like an ocean tide with accordion, tightly-rhymed lyrics and an allusion to the album's title.
Wax has a knack for finding the emotionally darker, outlying areas of relationships and pointing them out in catchy, eclectic ways that swerve nicely between happy and sad. Wax's power to achieve resides, in part, in his ability to wind metaphor. On "The Rumors are True," Wax sings, "Sometimes with the wrong keys the doors unlock," and compares love to a dog fight on "A Dog in This Fight." The track crackles with thick guitar and snare drum before it explodes into a majestic, near-operatics, complete with dulcet strings and vocal highs.
"Vivian" highlights Wax's playful searching, employing surfer guitar, intricate accordion and splashes of cymbal. "Wonderous Love," a dreamy, treble-filled free fall is hauntingly memorable. The song's deeply introspective questioning is set against a naturalistic backdrop that subverts expectation and cliche with poise. "Refuge" ends the record with intoxicating "Ooos," island drumming and climbing guitar, hinting at the Latin radio sound that both opens the record and nearly closes it, likely the sound that originally inspired David Wax years ago.
"Knock Knock Get Up" will be released on September 4, 2012 by David Wax Museum.