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thewake perfumeandfripperies
Artist: The Wake
Title: Perfume And Fripperies
Genre: Gothic / Cold Wave / Post Punk / Gothic Rock / Alternative
Release Date: 30th October 2020
Label: Blaylox Records


Album Review

THE WAKE come from Columbus Ohio and formed in the mid-1980s. They were part of what is called the “2nd Wave of Goth”. If bands like THE SISTERS OF MERCY, THE MARCH VIOLETS, DANSE SOCIETY etc. are the progenitors then THE WAKE are one of the children. Are they named after the final SISTER OF MERCY show at The Royal Albert Hall or a pre funeral gathering? It doesn’t matter because they are one and the same thing. Anyway, they’ve not released an album in 25 years. ‘Perfume And Fripperies’ was recorded over many months in different locations in Ohio and through various circumstances and in their own words: “Here, dark uneasy truths are revealed, fate and resolution come to terms, whispering dreams and memories dance in the moonlight… there will be no sleep tonight.”

The album is approximately 4.5 miles long. Yes dear reader, 4.5 miles. I commenced playing ‘Perfume And Fripperies’ as I exited my front gate and with a few feet of my destination it concluded. THE WAKE and their musical doodles kept me occupied and focused as I marched up a dusky and wet canal bank in East London creeping further towards shadow and darkness. 4.5 miles equates to around 45 minutes of music that on the whole is quite satisfying to listen to. It’s a sound that harks back to the early eighties when atmosphere and arty allusions took precedence over commercial concern. If you like THE SISTERS OF MERCY from ‘The First And last And Always’ backwards and THE MISSION from the Mid-Eighties then you’ll like this. Tracks like ‘Break Me Not’ are sublime. The screaming guitar with what sounds like an e-bow conjures images of wailing figures looking heavenward with arms outstretched. Look, my mind’s eye sees the figure kneeling by the side of the canal I walk on looking up at the nearly full moon.

Title track, ‘Perfume And Fripperies’, continues that screamy feel but with an added voice shadowing the main vocal. This is very atmospheric and well executed but the bass here doesn’t sound like THE SISTERS OF MERCY, it’s more Wolfgang Elbrock than Craig Adams... lovely and buttery? ‘Rusted 20’ manages to sound like Wayne Hussey and Jim Kerr at the same time, the winding and spiralling vocal wrapping itself around the guitar filigrees and me simultaneously, great stuff. And the bass manages to elicit an image of Peter Hook in his prime bent legged as he strums those strings at shin level. There is a ‘Hertz Healer’ mix of this track with a wonderful vocal by Caroline Blind, founding member of THE SUNSHINE BLIND. Next up is ‘Everything’ featuring Dave “Wolfie” Wolfenden from RED LORRY YELLOW LORRY. As you’d expect this track sounds like a load of coloured lorries, you can’t mistake the bass. It has a lolling day-dreamy and reflective quality to it, not my favourite track but still palatable.

The track ‘Emily Closer’ brings to mind SISTERS OF MERCY tracks (written or covered) like ‘Emma’, ‘Alice’ or ‘Marian’. Watery bass at the beginning along with sustained notes played with e-bow and with the addition of keyboards has me staring into space and losing track of my surroundings for a time before I snap myself back into the moment. At first I was not sure about this track but repeated listens has cultivated a liking. As an aside, this track was recorded and self-produced as a single in 2010 apparently before being remastered by Howie Weinberg at Masterdisc. The album closer is ‘Figurine’. My walk on the canal is coming to a close. I approach a bridge. The moon sits comfortably above whilst it’s shimmering reflection dances in the black cold water of the canal below. All I need is for a person to walk across the bridge and stop at its centre. Maybe light a cigarette, take a puff and exhale a cloud that rises slowly above the head into the chilly heavens. A moment to ponder, a moment to reflect! A moment to regret and to forget? And there goes the ‘Figurine’.

I like it! I like it a lot. Apart from the aforementioned listen while trotting along the canal bank I must have listened eight or nine times prior to that. A few bits and pieces  don’t really do it for me but I’d consider this to be a damn fine album indeed. I’m sure with a few more listens the things that don’t wet my whistle will end up getting me dribbling with contentment. If they don’t then so what. It’s still a fine album. In a previous review I stated that the band in question alluded to their influences. A guitar line and keyboard phrase would pop in and I’d have just enough time to make an association before the sound went. The influences here are not so much referenced but signposted. If by doing that I am transported back in time to when music was new and fresh, to when the sounds and the smells and the sights were not overwhelming but invigorating then I shall forgive them for that!


Tracklist

01. Daisy
02. Hammer Hall
03. Marry Me
04. Break Me Not
05. Perfumes And Fripperies
06. Rusted 20
07. Rusted (Hertz Healer Mix Featuring Caroline Blind)
08. Everything (Featuring Wolfie)
09. Emily Closer
09. Big Empty
10. Figurine


Line-up

Troy Payne – Vocals
Richard Witherspoon – Guitars
Daniel C – Drums


Website

https://thewakeus.bandcamp.com


Cover Picture

thewake perfumeandfripperies


Rating

Music: 7
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10

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