San Antonio based band Waxpanel has turned the nostalgia all the way up with their fantastically diverse debut album For Those Left Standing. This album is a modernized mix of 90s grunge and 00s hard rock with a dash of worship throughout; it’s a brand new album with the sounds we’ve missed from decades past.
“The Struggle” starts the album off with fuzz-heavy guitars and a strong riff that remains throughout the song. The guitars and drums build up for several seconds before the vocals powerfully join the mix. The lyrics are a relatable look at the struggle between self and faith:
“It's a heavy load
The weight you feel inside
It can be so hard
To keep your faith alive.”
“Dying Inside” begins with more heavy riffs and a notable bass line. The mood of this track seems much darker than the previous one; the verse and chorus scream of defeat before revealing: “I’m dying inside to let You in.”
With a bit of early ’00s Switchfoot vibes, “Beginnings” is an upbeat, catchy tune about the ups and downs of friendship. “Suitcase” adds a little more crunch on the guitars, but retains a similar mood. This song is more vocally driven than others, lyrically seeming to focus on faith and family.
The bass is once again blaring in “Absolution.” Taking a step back from the lightheartedness of the previous tracks, this one is heavy in both musical and lyrical tone. In contrast, “From Here” is acoustically driven, accented with simple drums and some clean guitars. Lyrically, this track is a worshipful tune about following Jesus:
“I'll follow You
I know this won't be easy
I don't care what they may say
It's my choice anyway.”
“My Life for You” blends the mood of “Beginnings” and “From Here” to form a tune that goes from upbeat soft rock in the verse to straight worship throughout the chorus. It’s a beautifully simple song that sings the story of salvation.
“Believe” sticks with the soft rock and nostalgic undertones; the lyrics trace a picture of past mistakes fading into the healing and glory brought on by belief in Jesus. “Bleeding Misery” is a strong acoustic ballad from the perspective of somebody begging to return to Christ after relapsing into old ways.
A calming acoustic instrumental can be found in “The Chronicles of Captain Sea Biscuits.” After that fantastically childlike interlude, “You Don’t Say” brings back the fuzzy grunge in full force. “Wait” concludes the album with a pop-punk musical feel and lyrics that preach patience.
In an ever-changing landscape of rock music, For Those Left Standing is the perfect nostalgia trip for the end of the decade. Waxpanel has created a beautiful piece of art that sounds like simpler times.