Review : The Wake - Here Comes Everybody
PitchforkSome bands have to wait years or even decades to be fully appreciated. The Wake were built that way from the start. The Glasgow band can claim the unique distinction of recording for two of the preeminent British indie labels of the late 20th century, Factory and Sarah. Fittingly, their best music mixes nervously funky post-punk with wispy bedroom synth-pop. But of course, that combination was hardly obvious at the time, and it's easy to see how in an earlier media environment, the Wake must've sounded like lesser clones of New Order or the Cure.
The Wake will still probably always remain a cult band compared to those groups, but they've proven increasingly influential over the past few years. Stateside indie poppers the Drums have said they came together with "the idea of completely ripping the Wake off." Recently defunct Swedish duo Air France borrowed from the Wake for a song on their 2006 On Trade Winds EP. But leading the Wake revival has been Brooklyn label Captured Tracks, which reissued two of the band's singles for Record Store Day 2011 and has commissioned a handful of cover versions by its roster, whose members generally share the Wake's dreamy melancholy and independent mindset.
Captured Tracks has now lovingly reissued the Wake's 1985 sophomore album-- by some measure their best-- and the non-album tracks from the same era, which are even better. Singer-guitarist Gerard "Caesar" McInulty, who had previously been a member of pre-fame Altered Images, formed the Wake in 1981 with singer-keyboardist Carolyn Allen, drummer Steven Allen, and bassist Joe Donnelly, soon to be replaced by Bobby Gillespie, who would go on to greater fame with the Jesus and Mary Chain and Primal Scream. But 1982 debut album Harmony hewed a bit too clumsily to the Factory line. Gillespie had moved on by the time of all but one of the tracks here, replaced by Alex MacPherson....full text
DustedmagazineThere could scantly be a more fitting home for Here Comes Everybody, the long overdue reissue of The Wakeís shining hour. Perhaps even more than New Order/Joy Division, Jesus and Mary Chain, 4AD, and the rest of The Glasgow School, Here Comes Everybody may be the single most formative album without which none of Captured Tracks would be possible. While I canít imagine a random polling of CTís roster would yield proof of this assertion, you would be hard pressed to find a record that sounds straight-up more predictive of the overall aesthetic the label has painstakingly curated than this.
Released in 1985, Here Comes Everybody was a quantum leap forward from their debut, Harmony, a comparatively uninspired entry in the ever-popular Joy Division, Factory Ltd. mold. The obvious, but lazy explanation is that they were again following the lead of the big dogs, snatching up whatever scraps they could to sustain their malnourished ideas. After all, they would hardly have been the first to trace the creative footsteps of Bernard Sumner and Co. into something like a career. But where New Order gradually broke with the bleak isolationism of their past in pursuit of the universal beat and eternal high, The Wake soldiered on, fighting a war of attrition with melancholy.
To its credit, Captured Tracks pulls out all the stops with this re-issue, including the singles released in the years leading up to and after Here Comes Everybody ó crucial links that chart the progress of a band who rather swiftly went from competent style-inhabiters to architects of a sound just now fully coming home to roost. The earliest pre-HCE track here, "The Host," documents a young band still paying fealty to dubby, extended groove-based workouts, holding court with the Crispy Ambulances of the day. As we inch closer to Here Comes Everybody, melody begins to gain traction, nearly netting them a deal with a major label subsidiary, according to the beautifully assembled accompanying booklet. Their decision to remain with Factory was probably in the best interest of all involved, giving them the creative control to craft a quiet stunner for a label more concerned with artistic statements than hit singles....full text
DirtydiscoThe Wake's second album is generally regarded as the band's musical peak and it is so with good reason. Whether its the departure of Bobby Gillespie and the addition of Alex Macphearson in his place, The Wake on their second album decided to dilute their post punk influence to a large extent in favour of exploring the landscapes of synth pop and indie pop.
From the opening notes of "O Pamela", with its melancholic shades of keyboards mixed in with a semi jangly guitar riff, it is apparent that this song isnít going to launch into the typical Factory records sound. "O Pamela" certainly is a fantastic opening track with an urgency which propels the song and elevates its fragile poignancy. The whole album itself follows The Wake blend together dashes of indie pop with aspects of synth pop. Most of the original songs of the album each contain waves and layers of synthesiser, creating much of the atmosphere of the song. This is more then apparent in creating the sad tone of songs such as "Send them away" and "All I Asked you to Do".
The only time the synth influence is reduced is on the original album's final track, "Here comes everybody" a song exploring more of the band's infatuation with dubwise bass lines and atmosphere. However where the original album would end, LTM have managed to carve out an even better exploration of the Wake's music by adding 8 singles from the era, which showcase probably some of the more immediate standout highlights in terms of songs.
"Talk about the Past" is a fast, exuberant song, more lyrically optimistic then the songs on the album. It marries together the JosefK-esque(such as on The Wake's debut song "On our Honeymoon") rapid guitar playing together with the background sounds of a more texture thin synth, aswell as occasional bursts of melodic playing. "Gruesome Castle" is probably the closest The Wake ever came to sounding like New Order, with Caesar's vocals sounding slightly like Bernard Sumner. However while New Order sound more mechanical and intricate, "Gruesome Castle" flows gently in its bittersweet atmosphere and with tonnes more jangly guitar....full text
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