San Jose’s Mary Axe is an indie rock/power pop outfit under the radar but on the rise. The threesome – comprised of Alex Pansoy on guitar and vocals, Dan Joesten on bass and vocals and Josh Joesten on drums – weaves a tight musical tapestry that’s able to withstand the overarching energy of a distortion-soaked, wave of noise without tearing, as easily as it can hold the delicate beauty of an intricate, slow number without falling apart. They’ve been playing together for years and their musical chemistry shows.

Citing a wide range of influences from the Cure and Guns ‘n’ Roses to Prince and Marvin Gaye, Mary Axe takes its inspiration from pop, rock, punk, metal and soul; all of which are apparent in their catchy hooks, driving guitar and drums, in-the-pocket basslines and heartfelt lyrics.

Not to be mistaken for an imitation pop band, Mary Axe takes their influences and tucks them into the quiet corners of their songs, turning up the volume, energy and pace and creating a noisy little creature of their own design. As one band member calls it on their MySpace page, “sounds like: the Smashing Pumpkins were beat up by Metallica.”

Mary Axe balances well-crafted melodies with capable vocal stylings, creative rhythm lines and tight drumming that keeps everything on track. Then they increase the punk and metal ratio and tear all pleasantries to shreds, leaving sensitivities and uneasy emotional states in the dust. Providing just enough of a musical hook to draw the audience into their lair, Mary Axe strips away the pop veneer to reveal the heavier, more distorted side of things, only to circle back around to familiar melodic territory; but not before a good thrashing.

Mary Axe plays a free show on Wednesday night at the Blank Club with The High Sea.

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