The Oakland-based band Wax Idols have been releasing music since 2010, and their sound has matured significantly, going from feverish post-punk to muscular, confident dream-pop. Frontwoman Hether Fortune used to play in White Lung, and while the two bands don’t sound remotely alike, they’ve both evolved, in parallel ways, toward cleaner and more accessible sounds.
When Wax Idols released their last album, 2015’s American Tragic, they were affiliated with Geoff Rickly’s Collect label, back when that label was bankrolled by smirking pharma ghoul Martin Shkreli. This unfortunate circumstance was not the band’s fault. (It wasn’t Rickly’s fault, either; the revelations bout Shkreli apparently caught everyone off-guard.) But it’s cool to see that Wax Idols are moving forward, staring their own Etruscan Gold label and announcing their new album Happy Ending. (Full disclosure: Wax Idols are now managed by Brandon Stosuy, who is both a friend and a former Stereogum staffer.)
“Scream,” the first single from Happy Ending, is a bleary, cinematic pop song that flirts with shoegaze without ever giving up the punk intensity of the band’s past. Of the new song, Fortune says:
Finding inspiration in one of my favorite poems, “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas, I used this song as a vehicle to meditate on the concept of free will & how one could choose to exercise it even at the brink of death. The protagonist is someone who is young, madly in love & desperately wants to live — though they know that they will not. They have chosen to use their final seconds, the only breath in their lungs, to scream out the name of the one that they love.
Listen to “Scream” below, via NPR:
Happy Ending is out 5/16 on Etruscan Gold.