On this second installment of a proposed "soul, body, and mind" trilogy kicked off with 2016's KIN, singer/songwriter KT Tunstall continues her 2010s rebirth, focusing on the physical and embracing the core of humanness with all its flaws and beauty. While the healing KIN marked the restoration of Tunstall's soul after the emotionally exhausting Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon, WAX awakens her body as she reclaims her sense of self, fighting to live life "with no negative emotion" while wondering "if it's unreasonable to feel." WAX harks back to her first three albums with their catchy hooks and raw, emotional punch. Cleansing single "The River" sparkles with life, an empowering Drastic Fantastic rallying cry, while the confessional "Dark Side of Me" and the smoky rocker "The Healer" recall the most electrifying moments of Tiger Suit. Aside from a brief dip into IE/CM contemplation on the Fleetwood Mac-ish "Poison in Your Cup," WAX is full of vigor, pulsing with a visceral charge on the strutting "Little Red Thread" and the infectious singalong "In This Body." Producer Nick McCarthy (Franz Ferdinand) injects subtle but inspired touches to the effort, like adding synth to both the driving "Human Being" and highlight moment "The Mountain," a slinky, intergalactic exploration that sounds unlike anything Tunstall has ever done. These effects add brightness and texture to her typically impeccable songcraft, resulting in a reinvigorated triumph for an artist who considered leaving music behind just years prior to WAX's release. Here, Tunstall has rekindled the fire with one of her tightest and most inspirational records to date.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung