In a world so filled to the brim, over-saturated and sick to death with acoustic guitar playing singer-songwriter dudes, it’s hard to find a character as original as Hamilton Ontario’s Wax Mannequin. The gruff-voiced balladeer’s new disc isn’t much of a departure from his previous albums— maybe sparser and more restrained than usual, but it is a further refinement of his Tom-Waits-psychedelic-folk-by-way-of-Foreigner sound. Every song bounces to a strange, jaunty beat, and he sings about greedy volcano gods, oil barons, and seems to have an obsession with drowning. The album suffers a bit from a draggy middle section, even with the hidden Cyndi Lauper quotes. But in the final third, Mannequin really shines with some strong fist-shakin’ boot-stompers that run his coarse voice ragged. It’s a stirring collection from a truly unique Canadian character.
— Patrick Canning