Decent and critically aclaimed debut 7″ single by Liverpool’s Wah Heat. I fancied something a little more melodic tonight. Back to the normal noisy stuff tomorrow.
Wah!, and its number of incarnations, was a vehicle for Liverpool post-punk enigma Pete Wylie. Whether viewed as a prolific genius or as a blowhard lunatic with no quality control, there’s no denying that the larger-than-life Wylie was a steamroller of a character who did everything his way to the fullest possible extent. Wylie’s recordings might have varied stylistically throughout the years, but they each share the qualities of being loud, proud, and heartfelt.
Having cut his teeth in the short-lived bands the Crucial Three, the Mystery Girls, and the Nova Mob, Wylie wisely decided in the late ’70s to form an outlet of his own to house his ideas. Having played with other strong-headed types like the Teardrop Explodes’ Julian Cope and Echo & the Bunnymen’s Ian McCullough, Wylie knew early on that he would have to be the center of things. Under various pseudonyms including Wah! Heat, the Mighty Wah!, Shambeko Say Wah!, Pete Wylie and Wah! The Mongrel, or just plain Wah!, Wylie released nearly 20 singles with the occasional studio LP or collection falling between most breaks in the release schedule.
Throughout Wah!’s history, Wylie situated himself with a number of skilled support musicians who shifted in and out with great frequency. The original lineup (as Wah! Heat) was fleshed out by bassist Pete Younger and drummer Rob Jones, but they were replaced on the second single by Joe Musker and Carl Washington. Keyboardist King Bluff literally bluffed his way into the group for Wah!’s debut LP and Wylie responded by using his name in the title. After that, the lineups became hardly traceable. The studio albums morphed from manic new wave in the earlier days to patchwork fare of wild stylistic variety including soul, reggae, easy listening, electronic pop, and straight-ahead rock & roll. Most of the records garnered critical favor but didn’t do terribly well on the U.K. charts. The 1982 single “The Story of the Blues” was the group’s biggest hit, reaching number three.