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PRECIOUS WAX DRIPPINGS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Ain't We a Wishin' Bunch EP (Fat Bat/Landmind) 1987
Rayon EP (Pravda) 1988
After History (Amoeba) 1990

Playing with the breathless enthusiasm (and some of the velocity) of a young band told their studio time is nearly up, Chicago's Precious Wax Drippings give the six ruggedly melodic numbers on the Wishin' Bunch 12-inch a real charge, firing up the richly distorted twin-guitar attack to devastating effect. While the jumpin' cuts (especially "Prayers" and "Soulbait") also benefit from unfancy mean-it vocals, the racing instrumental "Big Cheese" reveals chordal ingenuity and sharp interplay by the unpretentious quartet.

Heralded by an incongruous bagpipe chant, the more confident 7-inch Rayon offers up four cool new songs in a full-bodied Anglo-rock vein that owes something to the Small Faces (via the Rich Kids).

After History is divided into Industrial and Sexual sides, but that distinction doesn't begin to cover the boldly diverse collection of styles the group attempts on this ambitious longplayer. Sure, "Brontosaurus" (not the Move song) moderately acknowledges Ministry, but the same side also includes the gentle, pretty pop of "Steeptime." The flip, meanwhile, has a remake of "Rayon" as well as some sizzling punky funk ("Break Down"), thrashy rock ("This Year") and mildly countryfied rock ("Bob," with piano and a buzzing guitar undercurrent). Throughout, the group uses simple guitar-bass-drums resources to craft memorable songs, continually revealing imaginative twists. Fascinating.

[Ira Robbins]