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Artist: Wax Poetic (self-titled)
Label: Atlantic

Wax PoeticSometimes, the mark of a musician can be found by the comparisons they draw. Not to celebrate imitation, mind you, because even though it may be the sincerest form of flattery, the current music scene seems to "flatter" far too many of its forebears. For reasons entirely on the up and up, NYC Soul outfit "Wax Poetic" may bring to mind such names as Portishead, Miles Davis, DJ Shadow, and Dee Lite. And, really, you couldn't ask for much better company to be in.

Showing immense amounts of skill and finesse, especially when you consider that this is their debut release, Wax Poetic mixes elements of Jazz, Hip Hop, Soul, and even Drum-n-Bass into one cohesive whole. Very important to the formula is the fact that, unlike the present-day travesty known as "Rap Metal", this group manages to use the good qualities of all their musical influences instead of merely combining them just to see what happens. The result is smooth and easy without becoming funky elevator music, a complaint of some other modern Soul efforts. These people are focused, from the painfully sultry voice of the singer to the aural perfection of the DJ and the instrumentation, no section of Wax Poetic is an afterthought; even the occasional hip-hop verses by the group's emcee lend a certain urgency.

This album is a dreamy trip from song to song, but the complexity and layering of the music forces you to take notice. No filler here, as every track is laced with emotion; every track is its own entity. Wax Poetic's self titled debut is music for the soul and the mind, coming up huge with a release that doesn't fall victim to some of the problems of direction that plague similar jazz-influenced music. In hindsight, if any comparison is in order, it's a comparison to "Wax Poetic" themselves.

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