This is some end of the year top five material right here. Wax Idols—and specifically main songwriter/singer/multi-instrumentalist Hether Fortune—traffic in garage punk that has an appreciation for ferocious power pop melodies. There are hints of the Pointed Sticks, The Vivian Girls, The Slits, and Jay Reatard in evidence throughout and it makes for a potent mixture. Album opener “Dead like You” impressively squeezes a couple of scrappy ear worm hooks in, while building up the tension in the chorus from hypnotically languid to satisfyingly shattering. The gem is “Gold Sneakers.” It’s a thing of rare beauty. This song is a glorious bit of concise power pop perfection like the Ramones’ “She’s the One” or the Undertones’ “Here Comes the Summer.” The hand-clap abetted, sunny catchiness of the song is something that is deceptively simple, yet only adds to its primal joyousness. In addition to the succinct numbers on here (including a cover of the masters of succinct, Wire), there are several tunes where the band meditatively stretches out things a bit, such as “Human Condition” and “Grey Area.” If “Gold Sneakers” is the song for the sunny weekend at the beach, then the deliberately paced “Bad Future” is what happens when you’re stuck in traffic trying to get to a shitty job the following Monday. All in all, this album and the band’s preceding All Too Human single have been near the top of the rotation lately, and some of the most rewarding listens to pick up this year. Grab them.
–Adrian Salas (Hozac, [email protected])