Discipline & Desire
It'd be easy to equate the title and feel of Wax Idols' second LP with the day job of central figure Hether Fortune; she's a self-labeled pro domme with interests in gender theory. This would also be accurate and efficient. Lyrically and texturally, Discipline and Desire pulls off a smooth balancing act between nice and naughty, stern and soft, dangerous and seductive. With brittle and metallic guitars, whip-cracking snares, and vocals that swerve between brooding and commanding, the feel here is dark, mysterious, and subtly leather-clad. The band's lineup changed after Wax Idols' 2011 debut, and Fortune has narrowed her general focus on early-'80s punk and post-punk to a specific genre: the roots of goth, which only seems appropriate. Rubbery bass lines, pounding dance floor rhythms, and whirling guitar textures recall bands like Xmal Deutschland and Siouxsie & The Banshees, with Fortune's vocals occasionally nailing the same haunting tones of Siouxsie Sioux. Echoing, ghostly guitar notes—reminiscent of the very early Cure—color the gentler tracks, like the lovely "Elegua." "Ad Re: Ian" is a lament to Joy Division's Ian Curtis.