Getting the skinny on Wax Pig Melting


His voice is as warm and welcoming as the weather outside the enclosed porch in which he sits on this 70-degree afternoon.

His words, though, are decidedly overcast, at least for a moment, the conversational equivalent of some cloud covering on an otherwise sunny afternoon.

“I’m a pretty cynical guy, I’d guess you’d say, man,” Brian Gibson confesses on a recent Tuesday, sharing beers with two of his bandmates in front of his house on the fringes of the downtown art district, where the building next door is adorned with a brightly colored mural.

Gibson doesn’t come off as especially dour: a smile often brightens his features, and he possesses the easygoing, yet enthusiastic air of a record store clerk on a smoke break, talking up his favorite tunes.

This contrast between what Gibson says and how he sounds when he says it, between darkness and light, dissonance and melody is at the core of Gibson’s band, Wax Pig Melting, a newish group whose just-released full-length debut, “Jaded, X1,193,” builds upon the promise hinted at their live gigs over the past year or so.

Onstage, the band is all about volume and torque, their sound meant to swallow the room whole.

This spills over onto “Jaded” for sure, where the playing of Gibson and fellow guitarist Aaron Vilhauer doesn’t merely form a wall of sound, but more like a towering bulwark.

But as dense and planetoid-heavy as the core of the band’s tunes can be, it’s all leavened by bright, iridescent harmonies from Vilahur and bassist Minnie Kern and an emphasis on concise, compact arrangements.

“I know that when it’s not so bad, it’s nothin’ good,” Gibson sings dolefully on “Quick to the Draw,” but the band sounds invigorated, not defeated, as Gibson’s lyrics might suggest.

Much of this has to do with the fact that everyone comes from a different place, musically speaking: Vilhauer is big on U.K. garage and indie rock and introduced Gibson to Bright Eyes; Gibson used to make grindcore on his computer in high school and has an ear for noise; drummer Daniel Williams cites former Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison as a prime influence and is a total warhorse behind the kit, breaking drumsticks as if they were matchsticks.

“This is how I was taught to play, you know?” he says with a shrug. The three of them can’t entirely explain why Wax Pig Melting works, nor do they need to, really. The thrill is in hearing them try to figure out which direction to take — then taking them all at once.

“I’m nowhere near finding myself yet,” Gibson says with a grin that deflates the uncertainty of his words. “I don’t know, man, it’s just fun.”

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.