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AAA Music | 2 March 2024

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WAX IDOLS – Discipline & Desire

| On 19, Jun 2013


The latest offering by Wax Idols – Discipline & Desire  is compelling and unnerving to say the least but offers some of the most interesting and innovative music to grace the music scene as of late. Despite what may be perceived as a dark and gloomy offering by the post punk foursome, the album is completely captivating and portrays a clear, distinct and unique sound.

The tone is set from the outset with the opening track ‘Stare Back’, which begins with hazy distorted tones before leading into a gritty bass line. This is soon followed by a haunting and twisted vocal line with some bone chilling harmonies which rely almost entirely on the natural harmonies of the spoken voice adding a sense of intensity and rawness to the music. The lyrics are dark and grotesque at times creating a twisted punk atmosphere as the group sings ‘I love the twisted and hideous faces, I love them dead most of all’. The drums punctuating on the lyrics ‘stare back’ add emphasis to their message and displays the intelligent instrumental writing off the band. Punk lyrics with a powerful message; raging against conformity is mirrored in their refreshing and innovative approach to their song writing evidenced from the outset.

‘Sound of the Void’, at times gives way to clusters of pure noise bringing a sense of contemporary innovation to the album. The driving and catchy guitar hooks, punctuating drum beats and droning vocal lines which characterise this song, make it one of the highlights of the album, and leads nicely into ‘When it Happens’. Here the broody atmosphere continues with a guitar line that contains overtones of Siouxie Sioux and the Banshees, which is also reflected in the timbre of the instrument. The music maintains a very rich texture throughout with the added synth and vocal harmonies in the chorus and the intricate drumming. ‘Formulae’, is full of energy and attitude with an unrelenting bass line and penetrating drumming pattern heard over synthesized drones. There is a nice contrast between the gloomy verse and the chorus which portrays a slightly lighter maybe uplifting mood.

‘The Scent of Love’, is slower in tempo and maintains a heavy atmosphere. The song contains powerful lyrics and is expressively sexual in its content which displays an uncontrollable sense of lust and desire, ‘will; not your own, though you do obey’, describing the hold one person has over another. It is an unrelenting desire which is beautifully narrated and shows Wax Idols’ powerful song writing ability. ‘Dethrone’ displays an impressive alteration of the timbre of the guitar which adds to Wax Idols’ unique sound as well as containing some gripping guitar hooks and an incredibly catchy chorus and vocal line.

‘AD RE:IAN’, is definitely one of the stand out moments of the album bring a sense of diversity to the table with poignant lyrics and melancholic vocal lines. The song is drenched in sentimentality and pays tribute to Ian Curtis and Adrian Borland of The Sound – ‘were you blowing walls in the dark searching for the light, I’d do anything everything to make you change your mind’. There is a mournful and reflective message throughout, but the song maintains bursts of punk energy and does not stray from their characteristic edgy sound. The layered and almost spoken vocal harmonies offer a sense of purity and vulnerability showing a more fragile side to Wax Idols. The song is truly enchanting.

‘If you love me, say goodbye. If you love me, let me close my eyes’, the opening lyrics to ‘Cartoonist’, which tells the story of a cartoonist who kills his wife due to her suffering from an illness before killing himself. It is equally as poignant and powerful as ‘AD RE:IAN’, and contains a pulsating bass line and some catchy guitar hooks. It is very expressive and closes with an up- roaring chorus, chanting ‘my cartoonist’. ‘Elegua’ is enchanting and opens with a mysterious introduction. The song tells of the prophet of cause and effect of the Santeria religion ‘you know the answer, please let me in I’ve been waiting for so long’. Lyrically it has the embodiment of a prayer with ritualistic chanting of Elegua towards the end. The album closes with ‘Stay In’, a perfect conclusion to the album with a more light hearted feel perhaps representing a light at the end of the tunnel. It is almost like a release from the dark and twisted grasp of the preceding material.

Discipline and Desire offers innovative song writing, originality and a lyrical poignancy and depth which is unparalleled. The inventive sound of Wax Idols is truly refreshing and is over flowing with power and attitude. Though this album is not for the faint hearted containing what would seem to be unrelenting tension there are moments of sheer beauty. It is a cleverly constructed album and is a very worthwhile listen.

Shane O Neill