A Light Far Out - The Wake Album Review
Posted: 17th May, 2012
Formed in 1981 by former Altered Images guitarist Gerard (aka Caesar), Steven Allen and future Primal Scream icon Bobby Gillespie, theres enough pedigree here to earn The Wake some kudos and plenty of hits on Wikipedia, if not on Amazon, Cerysmatic and their current label-haven, LTM Records. Musically, they still sit within the melodic, reflective and, some might suggest, fey borders already currently occupied by the likes of The Drums (who have acclaimed The Wake as an influence), Camera Obscura and Allo Darlin, as well as previous acts on navel-gazing labels such as Sarah or Creation, circa the 80s.A Light Far Out is The Wakes first full-length album since 1994s bitter and twisted urban-sprawl, Tidal Wave of Hype and marks, not so much a departure from earlier works, but rather a continuation of where they previously left off, although with just eight tracks, theyve kept things short and very, very sweet.
From the opening wistful Stockport, with its self-deprecating lyric Walk through any town/towns all look the same, to the final closing epic The Sands, The Wake have visited every previous precious creative trademark and buffed it up with pin-sharp arrangements, augmented by simple tinkling keyboards or sad-face synths. Which is, of course, the point. Caesars band dont specialize in riffs, shouting or dubstep, they evoke images of windswept Scottish landscapes, bitterly-cold European plazas or deserted public-amenities, much like the fairgrounds carousel on the sleeve. If you wanted this band to embark on a radical departure, forget it they havent and thank Heavens for that.
Clear winners on this rather engaging collection include the sprightly must-be-a-single Back of Beyond, the glitch electro-ballad If The Ravens Leave, the aforementioned Stockport and The Sands and the rather lovely instrumental Faintness, which is as techno as youll get here, without larging it or falling asleep.
What really stands out with this album is the attention to emotional detail, be it the washes of tearful synth, the fragility of Caesars vocals or the entire mood across this consistent octet. Sure, it doesnt all work perfectly, for example the title track probably withers away for a few minutes more than it should and Starry Day just exists as a platform for the even-more-fragile vocals from Carolyn Allen, but The Drums are right The Wake remain subtle, sparkling, magical and influential, probably way more than theyve had credit for. Will Nouvelle Vague cover any of the songs on here as they did with O Pamela (from the still-superior album, Here Comes Everybody)? Who cares what matters is now. And right now, there is a light that is far from out its burning so very very brightly.