Tonight, I'm about to review a criminally underrated Glaswegian band called The Wake. Once again, I owe my discovery of this 1980's gem to The Pastels, because without them, I wouldn't have known any of the bands I listen to now. It all started when I read The Pastels' tweet about The Wake, which made me intrigued, but I decided to try and listen to them only a few months later. And I don't regret.
I can surely say that Glasgow must be (yes, it must be) the city that has given the world the largest number of wonderful, great and unfortunately underrated bands. The list of bands could go on forever, but let's not talk about things that are not much relevant to this review.
Also, The Wake toured during their earliest years with New Order, which in my opinion, gave them a little "New Order-ish" influence.
So, the album I am talking about this time is "Here Comes Everybody". It's a treasure quite well hidden in time, and it absolutely shouldn't be hidden. There were so many bands in the 1980's that didn't deserve the recognition they got, and so many bands who did deserve it, didn't.
I will proceed to the second track "Send Them Away", which is a beautiful song to be listened once you are heartbroken, disappointed at someone, or if your relationship just isn't the same as it used to be. The lyrics "We walked across the bridge of sighs, shall we stop to say hellos?" does summon everything I just characterized in the last phrase. Usually, when you become distant with someone you used to love so fondly, there is nothing else to do but to sigh, wishing you could go back in time and do things differently. Unfortunately, you cannot help it, the end of the relationship, the "nothingness", the vague silences between you two, and so you sing in your own sorrow and sobbing: "But that's the way it goes, that's way love grows". And you understand it's the way it should be, and none of you two could avoid it, if love's non-existent it will eventually end.
The next track I am going to analyse is "Melancholy Man". It is clearly a song that talks about someone too romantic and attached to the magical world of daydreaming to live in such cruel and harsh reality. "The sky is blue today, here in nowhere land." Even though is someone else that sings this lyric, other than melancholy man, I connect it to his imaginary world, the only place he feels happy, or he can be happy. Many people find melancholy and "happiness" as two complete opposites, but I disagree. Melancholy can be very pleasant. Anyway, the lyrics describe a man who wanders around in reality but he's really not there, he's in his own world, where he wishes to not establish contact with other real people and does not care about the children calling his name and running behind his back, he doesn't care about smiling back at people he's acquaintances with. And then, there's someone talking to this melancholy man (who I presume to be called Vincent, since this name is mentioned in the last part of the lyrics) claiming that the world does not deserve something so beautiful as this man. Once again, I associate with the "escapism" of this man in his own daydreaming, too sensitive and vulnerable to our human reality.
"World of Her Own" is a track that I pretty much identify myself with. It seems like a dialogue between two male friends who talk about one of them's girlfriend who might be a little bit too glued to her daydreaming (just like "Melancholy Man"). Maybe she prefers her surreal world over a true (and complicated, because it's always complicated) relationship with a real man. "One day she'll be leaving you, for a world of her own" Then, the boyfriend's friend tells him that he should change his habits because it will happen anyway: the end of their relationship. He will be alone, and she'll be dreaming, in peace. I understand this song so much because it's much easier to have platonic crushes rather than real love, but in the end, if you get too attached to your daydreaming and your perfect man, you might wake up too late and realise you spent your life dreaming, all alone. And even though I find much easier to imagine things rather than having them, I much rather real love, than a world of my own.
"All I Asked You To Do" is clearly about an old crush that the singer had which seemed to impossible to become a real relationship. She had everything: beauty, money and kindness. But in the end, she was cruel to him and broke his heart. And so, everyone passed by in her life, and no one stayed, and she never knew what true love is, and how wondrous life can be.
And now, the last but not least track in the album is "Here Comes Everybody". Another heartache song, about a man who ended up disappointed at his lover, when he once decided he'd never fall in love again, but she ruined that decision, yet kissed another man. And then, he "lost" her since she wanted to be another person, completely different from the one he had fallen in love with. He didn't want her to change, but she did it anyway, not caring about his thoughts. And so, as a changed, a totally different person, she betrays him and kisses another man, proving to him and she was at last free and their love was over.
Finally, concluding this review, I would say it's a much lighter album than their first one, "Harmony", which had influence of New Order's debut album "Movement". Back then The Wake released their EP's and albums in Factory, Joy Division's & New Order's record label, therefore, everyone was grieving Ian Curtis' death, and it had a huge impact on their music.
The synthesizers, played by lovely Carolyn Allen, had a very saddening feeling to the whole album, and drag themselves gracefully and romantically. I wouldn't say they're ethereal, but they give me a prolongation feeling that I could easily compare to depression, although I don't mean those serious cases of depression, but that one that's subtle and afloat and seems neverending. This one would be a very pleasant depression, definitely, and the only one that I'd love to never end. Synths are a very important component of the record, because in my opinion, synths will always have a lovely and melancholic sound to me. Of course, if you compare the synths in "Harmony", you'll notice they're heavyhearted, angsty and somewhat obscure.
PS: There is a version of this record with the singles, but I wanted to stick to the original record. Anyway, I'm going to leave here the covers of the EP's. Thank you for reading!
|Flyer of a New Order & The Wake gig, 1982|
|"Talk About The Past" EP, 1984|
|"Of The Matter" EP, 1985|
|"Something That No One Else Could Bring" EP, 1987|
|A picture of band, The Wake.|