The cinematic story of “The Astronaut” told through rock opera and so named for the title of Wax Fang’s album, The Astronaut, discerns the transmundane, wonderful, and often horrific aspects of the vast universe through the eyes of an individual. Scott Carney, the project’s brainchild, tells the story through a host of vocalizations, psych-pop guitar riffs, ambient tones and intricate instrumental work in order to fully enfold the listener into the bigger picture.
“The Astronaut Part 1” kicks off the first lines of the opera with a 16-minute opener combining Carney’s soft crooning with a closing of echoing harmonics and synth. By the last, roughly, seven or eight minutes of the track, listeners are enveloped in the dark and light concepts of the story, surrounding a lone space traveler who is separated from his vessel, swallowed by a black hole, and finally transformed into a celestial super being by the album’s conclusion. Any first track can make or break the rest of the album immediately, and while “Part 1” is a bit lengthy, it certainly holds its own as a great opener.
In between “The Astronaut” parts two and three, “The Event Horizon” and “The Singularity” serve as excellent musical interludes to connect the different parts of the story, and succeed at showcasing how dynamic the band can get with their sound.
All three parts differ radically from one another, but represent three facets of the same whole. “Part 2” opens with tribal drums and muddy distortion, and finds Scott’s voice far more dissonant and less Thom Yorke-esque as it was in “Part 1,” closing out with a theatrical arrangement of violins, cymbal crashes and metal guitars. In the grand finale, “Part 3” ushers in an extremely clean ending for the story, with stylish lead riffs, great harmonizations, and a separate filtered vocal track right at the end, shouting out the last words of “The Astronaut” and giving goosebumps in the way that classic sci-fi horror films might.
In A Word: Theatrical