Published Oct 19, 2015Hether Fortune is tough as nails. Fiercely driven and independent, the self-taught, multifaceted musician has held down positions in Hunx & His Punx, Bare Wires and the seething punk crew White Lung; fearless and unforgiving, she once single-handedly dragged a heckler straight out of her audience and into the street. That's why the third album from her primary project Wax Idols, which follows her divorce from TV Ghost's Tim Gick, is not a stereotypically solemn breakup album.
Rather, American Tragic chronicles an ill-fated gothic romance, but it's strong and anthemic, triumphant in its lamentation. Our protagonist might be crestfallen, but she ultimately revels in fiery triumph. The album was recorded at San Francisco's Ruminator Audio alongside producer Monte Vallier (the Soft Moon, Swell, Weekend), where Fortune created the majority of her previous works. Drummer Rachel Travers contributed to a majority of the recordings, but otherwise, American Tragic was a mostly solitary passion project for Fortune, defined by deeply intimate confessions and burning affections that sear into the tracks both lyrically and sonically.
This intensity bleeds from the slow, heavy-pounding keys on album opener "A Violent Transgression," while a similarly industrial feel guides the hollow snare and grinding, low-octave synths of "Glisten." Leading single "Lonely You" sports vulnerable lyrics that reveal a lingering desire for her expired romance, but Fortune chains these musings to driving bass and a powerful chorus for strength. By contrast, the ensuing "I'm Not Going" is a solemn, slow-picked ballad in which Fortune asserts that, "No, I'm not going down."
She conquers any remaining melancholy with the exultant "At Any Moment," which swirls with liquid xylophone keys and elevates her to ultimate track, "Seraph." With heavily distorted guitar and a shattering crash, she severs this track from the previous eight; seemingly no longer a part of her breakup album, "Seraph" is a defiant declaration that she's moved on. (Collect)