Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Wake - Harmony + Singles

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The Wake, "Favour" (YSI link)

The Wake, "Patrol" (YSI link)

The Wake, "Something Outside" (YSI link)

I want to do a few more posts dedicated to Tony Wilson and his life. Here, we're digging a little deeper into the Factory Records catalogue, back to its early days.

The Wake are another band that Factory brought to the world for a brief, brilliant run, one of the second-level bands that help make the label legendary. The Wake were a Scottish band that formed in the early 80s when guitarist/vocalist Caesar left the Altered Images. Some considered them a New Order clone, which seems unfair to me. Sure, they share a similar electronic pop sound, the same label, toured together and New Order's manager Rob Gretton discovered them after their first single. But, The Wake's music stands on its own for quality, especially this first LP. Oh, one last cool fact. Their bassist is Bobby Gillespie, who would later go on to form Primal Scream, after a stint as the drummer for the Jesus & Mary Chain.

Harmony was the band's first LP, I guess it was more of a mini LP or big EP, 8 tracks released in 1982. Fortunately, it's been reissued by Les Temps Modernes and they've given this album the full treatment by compiling some extras like their first two singles for Scan 45 and Factory Benelux and their John Peel session, put together nice liner notes. I started listening to this one again this week and was blown away. I knew it was good, but I'd forgotten or my tastes have shifted, but I really feel like Harmony is a classic. It's def not for anyone looking for happy music; this is rather cold and dark music. But, when has that ever been a bad thing here at Pound for Pound? "Favour" is the opener, sets the tone and sound well. Forceful drums, amazing guitar work (I wanna say it's swirly sounding, but I don't know what that means), Caesar's echo-y vocals. It's "Patrol" that really hits me. Here, the keys turn this into a genuinely disturbing song. They're slow and organ-y and haunted; with the vocal shrieks it reminds me of Suicide on downers. Finally, the A-side to their first 12,"Something Outside." This is the extended version, it's much poppier than the LP stuff, would be great for the right dancefloor, I think.

Go grab a copy of the reissue, as this is well-worth the import price. This is amazing music, one of those albums that is so special because it comes from a lesser-known band that came and went and left us with a moment of brilliance. It's more proof of just how

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