Wax Idols have done many artistic ideas, and all the while stayed with the dark art theme, with more than one song being reminiscent of goth or The Smiths, but their vein is always pop-rock.
This doesn’t change on the nicely predictable follow up to American Tragic (QRO review), Happy Ending, though songs like single “Mausoleum” or “Scream” are weirdly ambivalent, almost darkly bright.
Unlike some equally good past material, the album is not only happier at times, but endearingly familiar of ‘80s or ‘90s pop-alt like Live or The Talking Heads. It all begins with “Heaven Knows”, which is sentimental and jangly, at times bright without the darkness. Cosmic is always in style and “Too Late” and “Belong” both play on this, and even “123”, though too compact is spacey.
Further on their punk roots show in the loudly political sounding “Crashing” and drum dominant, “Ashes”. Even as there are some lulls on this record, Wax Idols ambivalent mix of joy and pain on Happy Ending is key, leaving off with “Missed Call”, which captures some albeit limited folk bliss. As one of the t-shirts selling with the release claims, “You Are Not Your Body”, so Happy Ending claims you are more than joy and pain, you are ambiguous.