Hether Fortune is the leading force behind the post-punk group Wax Idols. Hether Fortune is also a dominatrix, a gender theorist, and a maintainer of one of the most berserker-entertaining feeds on Twitter. She is an uncontrolled, unpredictably sparking live wire, in other words, and on her second record Discipline & Desire, that same crackling intellectual heat and primal energy graces a batch of sarcophagus-cold post-punk.
Fortune’s deep, throaty voice is a powerful instrument, one that generates melodrama all by itself. On “Stare Back” and “When It Happens,” she bounces it off of vicious meat-hook guitar leads and blankly pistoning drums that recall Pornography-era Cure. She paints her lyrics in open-palm smears of devotion and subjection: “I love him twisted in hideous places/ I love him dead most of all,” she moans on “Stare Back.” But the album is not some grand guignol exercise; on “Stay In,” Fortune goes airy and wistful. “You said you’d always love me/ But I don’t feel it/ You said you’d always love me/ I wanna feel it,” she sings longingly. On “AD RE: IAN,” she sings with mournful empathy about Ian Curtis’s suicide, from the perspective of Adrian Borland of The Sound. “Can you see it in the mirror? Do you feel it in the streets? Have the architects of failure got you down upon your knees?” she wonders, as the band dissolves into silvery mist behind her. Discipline & Desire is a rich experience this way, whirling between emotional extremes. Like Fortune herself, it contains multitudes.