Of all Australian/American duos involved somehow in music, the one that constantly comes to mind is Ben Lee and Claire Danes. Yet, since the split in 2003, not many more have come about until two people met in college in Armidale, Australia. Matt and Rizz returned to America together after stints testing the waters as Open the Gates and Captains, landing finally in Brooklyn and calling it their home base for their duo Wazu. What’s come out since is their eponymous EP, fusing the metal of Open the Gates with heedy, gothic synth. Think Trent Reznor having to DJ a late night, full moon birthday party for Dave Gahan.
The EP is short-three songs. Much like with Icona Pop‘s earlier electro material, Wazu keeps the attention by mixing up the songs musically. If you’re not taken by “Murder 1,” keep trying. “Murder 1” is a gritty, driving electro number that forces forward with John 5, Mechanical Animals-esque guitar. It’s dark and forebodes the listener so much to trick them into believing the music is going to down that alleyway before diverting into the chorused vocals of “Happy Endings.”
“Happy Endings” essentially feels like Garbage meets Sleigh Bells in a stage vs stage match. If it wasn’t for Rizz’s verses, which edge more towards Shirley Manson than Alexis Krauss, the EP would’ve got 2 for 3 for being a bit too heavy to don and rest amid synthpop. It’s here where Wazu finds their rhythm and manages to forcefully find their sonic groove. “Walk All Night” continues along the same current. The music and singing are a little disjointed, the latter slightly languishing but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before the two are resolved. It tries to balance between gothic pop and the addictiveness of electro dance, slipping a bit when it goes atmospheric-better suited for a proper album to give it room to breathe.
Regardless of the dizzying end, Wazu’s got a rather solid debut that make them worth following as they move forward. They’ve got the elements and some excellent ideas brewing, it’s just putting them all to roost and brandishing their brashness with the confidence to make the darkness dance.