Waumiss is not lacking in experimentation on its second album, Subtle for Flames. The record treats listeners to a host of eccentric noises and introduces music lovers to an enticing string of instrumentation. Stationed in Carrboro, the band consists of a husband and wife team and a third member that joined the duo after its self-titled first release.
The group’s versatility shows through in its use of instruments from the elementary wood block and hand claps to the more advanced synare and vibraphone. Throw in the odd singing saw and malleted kegs and listeners know there is something wildly special about this record.
The track that most exemplifies the band’s sound is “Pass Not Through the Threshold Slowly (I Felt the Impact)” as it sounds like three songs in one. Things start out relatively normal with the conventional steady electric guitar, backing drums and a catchy keyboard riff. But the song abruptly changes with a switch to congas and cowbell for a grungier feel. Then it fades into an echoing voice and whimsical piano that slowly dies out to give the song an extra mystifying element.
However, the band’s impulsive nature is not for everyone due to the scattered, puzzling expressions. For example, the entire track “Shame On You, Judy” is similar to the very beginning of The Chemical Brothers’ song “Dream On” with a frequency that can be mistaken more for bad radio reception rather than for part of the song. But this is what the band is going for, so it succeeds.
While Waumiss’ quirk might not be for everyone, those looking for a wild, weird musical ride will find what they’re looking for with Subtle for Flames.