The Wake - "Gruesome Castle" (Here Comes Everybody)
There could scantly be a more fitting home for Here Comes Everybody, the long overdue reissue of The Wakeís shining hour. Perhaps even more than New Order/Joy Division, Jesus and Mary Chain, 4AD, and the rest of The Glasgow School, Here Comes Everybody may be the single most formative album without which none of Captured Tracks would be possible. While I canít imagine a random polling of CTís roster would yield proof of this assertion, you would be hard pressed to find a record that sounds straight-up more predictive of the overall aesthetic the label has painstakingly curated than this.
Released in 1985, Here Comes Everybody was a quantum leap forward from their debut, Harmony, a comparatively uninspired entry in the ever-popular Joy Division, Factory Ltd. mold. The obvious, but lazy explanation is that they were again following the lead of the big dogs, snatching up whatever scraps they could to sustain their malnourished ideas. After all, they would hardly have been the first to trace the creative footsteps of Bernard Sumner and Co. into something like a career. But where New Order gradually broke with the bleak isolationism of their past in pursuit of the universal beat and eternal high, The Wake soldiered on, fighting a war of attrition with melancholy.
To its credit, Captured Tracks pulls out all the stops with this re-issue, including the singles released in the years leading up to and after Here Comes Everybody ó crucial links that chart the progress of a band who rather swiftly went from competent style-inhabiters to architects of a sound just now fully coming home to roost. The earliest pre-HCE track here, "The Host," documents a young band still paying fealty to dubby, extended groove-based workouts, holding court with the Crispy Ambulances of the day. As we inch closer to Here Comes Everybody, melody begins to gain traction, nearly netting them a deal with a major label subsidiary, according to the beautifully assembled accompanying booklet. Their decision to remain with Factory was probably in the best interest of all involved, giving them the creative control to craft a quiet stunner for a label more concerned with artistic statements than hit singles.
The album in question stands as a pillar of moody synth pop, still bearing passing resemblance to New Order while retaining the bounce of the Postcard label bands and the cavernous production of Closer-era Joy Division, covering it all in some of the heaviest synth wash this side of Klaus Schulze. Though itís full of highlights, The Wake were never a singles band, and the record stands so well on its own, as a piece, that breaking it down further bears no merit. What does bear mentioning is the inclusion of 1987ís Something That No One Else Could Bring EP, which includes "Gruesome Castle," their most immediately infectious tune, and one that Iíve played more times than almost anything else from this era in the last few years.
At two LPs and a booklet, did this thing really need to be a box? Hell no. But thank Yahowah for labels like Captured Tracks, willing to pour their soul and spoils into a (deservedly) lavish vanity project. There couldnít be a more prescient cultural moment for Here Comes Everybody to reappear ó it feels like the potential interest in a sound thatís so now, but from then should be boundless. The Wake played catch up for years before they got here, and now the world is finally catching up to them.