Wax Tailor: Hope & Sorrow

Only a year after making his stateside debut with Tales Of The Forgotten Melodies, Frenchman Wax Tailor (a.k.a. WT) returns with another quality release, full of cinematic beats. But on Hope & Sorrow (Decon), this producer is less concerned with making his mark as an instrumentalist and more invested in collaborating with others—a move that largely works to WT’s benefit. The collaborations featured on Hope & Sorrow aren’t the type that a record label sets up purely for publicity’s sake. Wax Tailor seems like he’s nothing but selective about whom he gets down with in the studio. And this pickiness pays off. Beyond just working with vocalists, WT meshes his electronic-born soundscapes with the work of live musicians like cellist Marina Quaisee, who adds a real orchestral vibe to the album. On the bouncy cut “Positively Inclined” Quaisee’s dramatic strings compliment WT’s classic drum break while The Others kick their upbeat raps. Like album’s title alludes to, there are many moods on display. On one of the most distinct tracks, Sharon Jones of the Dap Kings fame lends her robust vocals to “The Way We Lived,” a jazzy throwback cut worthy of placement in an old James Bond soundtrack. And on the even more cinematic tip is WT’s work with his longtime affiliate Charlotte Savary. This ghostly-toned vocalist brings out the eerie, Portishead style that WT loves to tap into on songs like “The Man With No Soul.” As for the few instrumentals, they only add to the many sonic hues already going on. Because of the variance in styles, WT isn’t going to please every listener throughout. What he does do is offer music for every occasion and proves that his versatility is steadily expanding. All in all Hope & Sorrow is a slight step forward from Tales Of The Forgotten Melodies. But one gets the feeling that Wax Tailor’s best days behind the boards are yet to come.