How happy was I to see that one of all time favourite bands had in fact reformed and recorded a brand new album – immeasurable! The band first made their name on the Manchester Factory Records label back in the early 80’s before moving over to Sarah Records. Fronted by original Altered Images member Caesar, The Wake were often compared to label mates New Order. The bands complete output including this new album ‘A Light Far Out‘ have since been released on CD via LTM Recordings.
The show gets under way with ‘Stockport‘ which has that familiar dreamy keyboard and pristine clear guitar sounds that were ever-present in their heyday. This song is a real grower and builds up as does the vocal delivery by Caesar. ‘If The Ravens Leave‘ though is a more uptempo song, using a modern electronic beat and sound effects bringing the band up to date. The lyrics “and stardust playing on the stereo” sums it up perfectly. This vibrant sound is continued with ‘Methodist‘, which gives a soulful “state of grace” to the proceedings. The vocals in the mix were again softy said yet powerful in the delivery.
With the reintroduction of real drums and the driving lead guitar on ‘The Back Of Beyond‘ forces up the level of expectation. A song you would expect to hear on one of those C86 compilations. What comes next is a surprise, Carolyn Allen sultry vocals hark back to the sounds reminiscent from one of those arty 60’s films on ‘Starry Day‘. In contrast ‘Faintness‘ an instrumental certainly has elements not too distant to that of The Stranglers phase when they recorded the ‘Feline‘ album. The production give you lots of layers of sound that meander around your mind.
The title track ‘A light Far Out‘ enters the fray slowly dominated by a swirling synthesiser. Being over nine minutes long in length it enables this tune time to breathe and develop. So as you hear waves crashing on a beach a single guitar initiates the next phase surrounded by an enchanting keyboard cacophony. Later Caesars vocals return with “you see what I see” and turns this into an epic that needs your full attention. The album closes with ‘The Sands‘ probably the most stripped back of anything here. The acoustic guitar and a lazy rhythmic beat brings you back down to earth. You even get harmonic layered chorus lines.
Did I expect too much? Was I disappointed? The answer on the tip of my tongue is certainly not. They may have not been around for a long time, but that doesn’t mean they’ve not been keeping an eye on how the music scene has progressed. Maturity and a sense of happiness prevail throughout this recording. One of the last lines to the final song states “..it’s all over“, well not true if you have bought this album from LTM. For those lucky people will receive a bonus live disc recorded in 2009 at Plan K. They once sang “I missed you..”, it certainly seems that it was likewise too. 9.5/10.