Appropriately enough given his stage name, Chris Adeney has worn many outfits over the years. He’s been a velvet-robed lothario delivering messages from the Queen, a headbanded hard rocker paying the price twice, and a road-weary troubadour roaming to the ends of the earth. His music has veered from prog oddities to over-the-top arena rock to his current folk-inflected indie rock, all with a sense of humour that embraces the absurd and borders on outright Dadaism.
Beneath the bizarre imagery and musical left turns, there is a steady current of inquisition, a constant questioning of life’s inherent absurdities. Sometimes it’s more straightforward, as in “Someone Fixed the Game,” the opening track from 2018’s Have a New Name, where Adeney tackles white privilege from the perspective of someone who’s always had life rigged in their favour. Sometimes it’s less direct, like the same album’s “Basketball,” which is either a statement about aspiration and self-improvement or a meaningless lark. In the world of Wax Mannequin, jokes and profundities mix and mingle until it can be difficult to tell the difference.
Regardless of his current costume, Adeney has held fast to following his idiosyncrasies to their illogical conclusions. He may be a shapeshifter, but whatever form he takes, he’s always unmistakably himself. It’s like he says in one of his recent anthems: “I can change, but you’ll never change me.”
Biography by Peter Hemminger