Wax Idols

Discipline + Desire

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Wax Idols underwent some major changes between the release of their debut album, No Future, and its follow-up, Discipline + Desire. Leader Hether Fortune enlisted a full-time band to support her, and also revealed her involvement in the fetish/BDSM community as a dominatrix. These developments make the album's sound more understandable, but no less dramatic: No Future's shouty, somewhat samey punk has been replaced by pitch-black post-punk. "Stare Back" opens the album like a slap in the face, with Fortune's vocals recalling the frosty hauteur of Siouxsie Sioux, Romeo Void's Debora Iyall, or Adult.'s Nicola Kuperus before her as the song slashes and crashes with a fury that would have been unthinkable on No Future. Granted, the post-punk revival wasn't exactly strikingly original by the time of Discipline + Desire's release, but Wax Idols do sound far more authentic and passionate here than they ever have before. Fortune's presence is never less than commanding, whether on the abrasive yet catchy "Sound of a Void" or softer, more expansive songs like "AD RE:IAN" and the lovely album closer, "Stay In." These songs, as well as "The Cartoonist"'s angular rock and "Elegua"'s churning balladry, show that Wax Idols have a much wider range in this incarnation than might have been expected. A skillful balance of harshness and beauty, Discipline + Desire is a welcome reintroduction to a band that is among the best at keeping this sound not just alive, but vital.

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