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Album #296: The Wake – Perfumes and Fripperies

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Glasgow, Scotland
  • Label: Blaylox
  • Best Track: Perfumes and Fripperies

Post-punk is rarely associated with joy. Adjectives that come to mind when you hear of the genre might include ‘gloomy’, ‘paranoid’, ‘claustrophobic’ and ‘introverted’. Coincidentally, all those words also sound very 2020, so what better time for a post-punk band to bring out a comeback album?

Glaswegians The Wake are an interesting link in the chain of Scottish post-punk and indie pop, with frontman Gerard McInulty previously of Altered Image, and drummer Bobby Gillespie going on to form Primal Scream after a stint in the Jesus and Mary Chain. I’ve seen some sources say their brand new album is their first in 25 years, but Discogs lists a 2012 release, A Light Far Out. In any case, it’s certainly the band’s first record in some time.

This is a good, solid record. Yes, it’s reinventing the wheel a bit with all the standard post-punk hallmarks there – the murky guitats, the baritone vocals, the simple downbeat bass lines – but if you’ve been in the game since the early eighties, you earn the right to dip back into your own influences.

Crucially, the Wake always sound in control on this record, with highlights being the driving and mesmeric title track, and the more minimal and focused ‘Everything’ and ‘Big Empty’. A welcome return for these veterans who have slotted straight back in.

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