Sunday, February 15, 2009

Here comes everybody - the wake

In 1985 Scotland's The Wake made the kind of music where you are afraid to sneeze in case you disrupt the delicate melodies; even breathing seems a harsh activity in the company of the ethereal Here comes everybody a relatively hidden gem in the history of Factory records.  Although at first condemned for producing sub-Joy Division standard post-punk dirges on their debut (as must every band signed to Factory at the time) by the mid-80s The Wake were coating their tales of love lorn and love lost in woozy blankets of loveliness, sugaring the misery so to speak.  Elements of pop and dub-tinged bass provide the bedrock bubbling away beneath which prevents songs from floating into the ether or the sensitive listener either drowning in sorrow or in syrup, whilst the vocals are gentle without sounding too twee or cloying.  Indeed singer Caesar sounds so doleful, even on the more upbeat songs like Talk about the past,  you might have, like me, the strong desire to want to force feed him with fairy cakes and tea until he gives in and raises a smile.  Nevertheless it is the fragile beauty of the triumvirate of Torn Calendar, All I Asked You To Do and Here Comes Everybody which all deal to some extent with the disappointment caused by love (a good topic for the day after Valentine's) which are the most endearing.  Here Comes Everybody overlies cavernous drums with tender melodies and crushing heartache - 'I lost you in a lonely crowd, you wanted to be free / you wanted to be someone else, I'll always disagree" whilst All I Asked You To Do wears its pop sensibilities on its sleeve and, like The Cure at their best, is infectiously catchy, the simple melody underlain with mists of synth to create a dream-like atmosphere.  Torn Calendar is the wispiest little thing, best consumed in the quiet rather than the bustle of everyday life.   Together with The Names (sort of their label mates) The Wake create soundtracks to lose yourself in the waves of soothing melody.

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