2019 COACHELLA VALLEY WEEKLY AWARD WINNER BEST ALBUM ‘BETTING ON FORGETTING’ ALBUM REVIEW
By Noe Gutierrez
If you are able, I would recommend you get to Red Barn in Palm Desert on Friday, September 13th to witness, possibly for the last time, the longest-standing and most well-known line-up of WAXY, Robbie Waldman (vocals and guitar), Damian Lautiero (bass and background vocals) and Jeff Bowman (drums and background vocals). WAXY will be celebrating the Friday the 13th digital release of their album, Betting On Forgetting, the 2019 Coachella Valley Music Award winner for ‘Best Album’ and the show will also serve as a bon voyage of sorts as Waldman takes WAXY to Europe in October along with Robert Bowman (bass and background vocals) and Tyler Ontiveros (drums).
The physical album has been available for a few months now online for those who love vinyl and CD and is now more conveniently accessible to the masses.
The album includes guest appearances from some of the desert’s most accredited musicians including Ronnie King, keys on There She Goes, Sean Wheeler, vocals on Repeater, Nick Oliveri, bass on Two Faced, John Garcia, harmony vocals on Two Faced and Mike Pygmie, drums on Never Was Enough, Fine, Two Faced and Vanilla.
Below is the Coachella Valley Weekly album review of Betting On Forgetting.
- Dead & Gone
The heavy-hearted acoustic and string intro is moody. The lyrics “…callous soul, faithless, heartless, I never thought I’d ever get this low, and nothing more than wasted time, flown away and never looking back to realize, where we could have gone…” feels like the search for love and time spent on a relationship dwindles as you face the fact that it’s over. It’s individual perspective with a reflective vision. The opening and closing tracks can be the most difficult to write and position on an album. Fortunately here, you will see that the closer reinforces the intro.
- Never Was Enough
Now this is the fuzz I’m looking for. The 2nd song establishes a trajectory on the album. That ‘Stoner Sway’ that Robbie and WAXY are so famous for is the highlight here. The temperament of the song is melancholy but driving. The stability of the dynamic reminds me that this is, dare I say, a concept album.
- Hoof & The Horn
The tempo of the album continues to be lifted here. Bowman’s drumming is in the driver’s seat in the extended intro. As he does in the live setting, Bowman can create his own stratum within a song. This is classic WAXY if it’s OK to identify the band’s sound as characteristic. This will no doubt be a song chosen to be performed on their upcoming tour.
WAXY definitely picks up the pace here even more. Reminds us that some bands are still mindful of song placement. It has that Punk feel along with the Punk breadth, clocking in at 1:35. Waldman wails in his upper and comfortable register for the duration.
If you were on the ‘WAXY Carousel’, this would be the song on repeat for the entire ride. It’s as if Herbert hijacked the studio on this song when the band was out to lunch. The overdrive of organ takes center stage. Thanks Herbert!
- Two Faced
Bringing the tempo back to a strutting gait. Waldman excels with these mid-tempo songs both vocally and building a wall of sound with his guitar/pedals. The falsity and deception of those who double-deal is my interpretation of this song.
The song is more than a singular flavor with its tempo and time signature changes. Interestingly, the song takes me back to Rhythm & Brews, Mario Lalli’s music venue in Indio. I can imagine how this song would have gone over and I can hear how Lalli’s influence continues to this day and permeates more than we are aware of.
If you listen closely you can hear the percussive instruments and how much they add to the identity of the song. The lyrics, “…to give love and get none, return, run boy run…” continue to drive home the theme of heartbreak and the desire to avoid it. The song judiciously ends with the striking of fingers on a past its prime typewriter.
- There She Goes
The Beatles-esque intro lead to the WAXY-guitar-fuzz. There’s a lot going on here. Waldman & Co. really added a bevy of sounds to coincide with the hooky chorus. If I were to choose a song to be played on 93.7 KCLB by Todd ‘T.K.’ Killiam, this would be it.
Here’s another rocker to be included in the live set. Waldman has an enduring song structure all his own. He is the conductor with a guitar strap who happens to belt out his own intimate lyrics.
- Getting Lost Getting Found
The lyrics, “…middle aged, ain’t got so much to show for my time…a jack of all trades and a master of none…” take us ‘De Capo’ (from the beginning). A more hopeful ending and a reminder that we are all a work in progress. This is the tempo every album should close with. Like a great story, WAXY brings us back to the start.
Robert Owen: lyrics, vocals, guitar, keys, percussion
Jeff Bowman: drums & percussion
Damian Lauitero: bass & guitar
Brett Stadler: lyrics
Produced by: Robert Owen
Mixed by: Steve Feldman
Recorded at: Unit A Recording & Arts
Upcoming SoCal Shows:
Fri. 9/13 – Red Barn – Palm Desert, CA
Sat. 9/14 – Cobraside Distribution – Glendale, CA