Discovering an artist's back catalogue has to be one of the most rewarding things about being a music fanatic, as I, and yourself as you're reading this, both undoubtedly are. It wasn’t until a couple of summers ago that I got hold of a copy of this, a re-issued version of Sweden’s finest (and now seemingly almost forgotten) self-titled debut. Not as instant as some of their more obvious pop records (Be A Girl springing to mind, in particular), The Wannadies is a slow burner that rewards greatly with repeat listening.
Right from LP opener 'Together' you're treated to a delightful journey through the early shoegazing days of a band who are still together, and still performing songs from this album 14 years on from its release in 1990. Second track 'Heaven' showcases their delightful way with male/female harmonies and 'My Home Town', a live favourite about their native Skelleftea, just oozes confidence and is slick without being sickly. Par Wilksten’s vocals are slightly more subdued thanks to somewhat less lavish production – and make no mistake, this sounds just as you’d expect a Stone Roses-debut-era record to sound like. But in the best possible way.
There are enough gems to keep even the most hardened listener happy and the album is littered with memorable lyrics, normally about drinking and girls – "I keep you apart from the things that you love/things that you love/things that you care about/not to be evil – just to get you by myself" Par sings in 'Things That You Love'. On 'Together', he sings, "Encouraged by the man/I went out looking for one night stand/a six pack for me/and one for you/I guess I felt lucky/Don’t tell me I’m wrong, tell me I’m the only one".
The album is arguably most impressive in its more subdued moments. 'How Beautiful Is The Moon' is an atmospheric, haunting bass-led ballad where Par half sings/whispers over minimal backing. 'Black Waters' comes late on in the album and is a more straightforward violin led-affair – again extremely minimal in its arrangements and is all the more powerful because of it. Final track 'The Beast Cures The Lover' is a rousing way to end the LP, but if you’ve got the Snap Records re-issue you’re also treated to great renditions of Marc Bolan’s 'Children Of The Revolution' and The Go-Between’s 'Lee Remick' to round it all off.
I took this album to Switzerland with me last year. I played it on repeat most of the five days I was there. It’s so well hidden you can’t pick it up in the UK, but recommended for anyone interested in good pop music.
8Andrew Farley's Score