Post punk died a death in the 1980’s. The terror of Stock, Aitken and Waterman saw to the that. It all started off so well. Joy Division, The Chameleons, The Sound. PIL, Magazine, the Au Pairs. I really could go on, as post punk is my kind of music.
Then in the early 2000s came the post-punk revival; Editors, Interpol, White Lies and so on. Then, the post-punk revival was cut dead in its tracks just as post punk was; only this time the devil was, and still is, represented by Simon Cowell who has done something SAW couldn’t – cracked America.
Step forward then Wax Idols, who have pretty much put together everything good about both incarnations of post punk into Discipline & Desire.
As a four piece hailing from California your expect fluffiness, sunshine and light. But here is dark, serious music about love, death and the darker side of life.
Opening track Stare Back is a brutal affair which takes its cues from the gothic end of the musical spectrum. Driving beats, a simple bass and distorted vocals about making people crawl producing a dark and atmospheric opening.
The second track carries on the same atmosphere. Sound of a Void is a similarly furious track pushed and pulled on its way by a pounding drum beat which has some nice percussion hidden away which transforms it from a simple beat into a hectic yet controlled tour de force.
When it Happens is the track that got me into Wax Idols in the first instance. Dark, moody and taking its influences from The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees in equal measures. It also has some nice melodic touches that make it more than just an album track in terms of the backing vocals and the guitar work, which is minimal in its implementation, but adds a whole new dimension by creating a layer of lightness you’re just not expecting. It demonstrates a good ear for song making.
Dethrone is another song that shows that song making is an art. The chords at the start of the song are perhaps the lightest thing here, if only because they are played in a less minor key than the rest of the album. To be honest it has a feel of a breakout single for Wax Idols; the chorus of Dethrone is ripe for the singing back at them at a concert, the guitar riff that’s at the beginning of the end of the song could cut a swathe through any concert-goers.
The Scent of Love is perhaps the most derivative song on the album. Every time it comes on I expect Dead Souls by Joy Division – the drum beat at the start is pretty much identical, as is the guitar intro which appears to be heavily influenced by Nine Inch Nails take on the same song for The Crow soundtrack.
The final song of the album, Stay In has touches of what you’d expect music from California to have. It’s also interesting as it shows that not everything that Wax Idols touch has to be dark.
This was put on my phone as soon as it was received. I didn’t need to listen to it to know I’d love it!
Discipline & Desire by Wax Idols was released on the 3rd June on Slumberland Records