There is just something about bands from the Southern states. They seem to have a certain sense of angst and swampland mysteriousness that other bands are not blessed with. Full Devil Jacket (Island/ Def Jam) are exactly the type of band I’m speaking of. Every track from the five-song EP, “A Wax Box to Put Your Frankenstein Heads In” sounds as troubled as a wannabe Satanist with a Catholic upbringing. The thing is: once you’ve heard it, you’ll welcome the pain.
The opening track (and the first single) entitled “Stain” does a fine job of showcasing vocalist/songwriter Josh Brown’s talents. He has both southern devotion and influence mixed with what feels like his strange desire to escape the backwoods and run away to the concrete-infested city. Yet, Josh isn’t running anywhere. He is screaming into the face of adversity and at the very monster that the rest of us might be fearful of. He has a melodic Pantera/Staind mix in his voice and it boils over without warning and without remorse on “Screaming Jesus” and “D.M.F”. (Dead Mother Fucker)
Full Devil Jacket, as a band, are an even blend of strength and vulnerability. With two guitar players, Jonathan Montoya and Mike Reaves, the listener reaps the benefits of deep, angry sound with layered effects. The soothing, yet heavy bass from Kevin Bebout is a smooth, candle wax melt with Keith Foster’s drums holding steady in the back. Things get intense just in time for you to want them to.
This collection is chock-full of dreamy imagery, but the dreams don’t necessarily have happy endings. “A Wax Box…” makes the listener question their reality and their beliefs. The lyrics delve into religion-related topics with tracks like “Full Devil Jacket”, (“Jesus wants me back in church again/I’m not ready to give my life back to him/Wearing my full devil jacket again/Keeps me safe in sin”.) The song, which sounds like it has been recorded on a large, wooden front porch under a Louisiana night sky, is something that tends to linger and haunt.
In the South, especially in New Orleans, a storm moves in and the heavens turn black within seconds; even in the middle of the day. A southern thunderstorm will creep up on you and hold you hostage until it subsides. “A Wax Box…” is just like one of those storms, and it is just as equally captivating.