The Wake started off as an outfit of wannabe post-punk goths before making the switch to Bristol's finest twee label, Sarah Records, and opting to be more whimsical, more kind-hearted, and more indie pop. 'Testament' is a sneaky best of release for the Scottish band, bringing together both sides of the band into one neat compilation: whether you're looking for the self-serious band they started as or the Sarah sentimentalists, you'll get it on here. And if you pick the vinyl, you'll get twenty-odd early live cuts and demos. Tonnes of twee.
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 18 September 2014
Back in my youth I developed an obsession with Sarah Records. One day when looking at the back catalogue on the slip of paper you used to get inside their records, I noticed they’d released a record by The Wake. But I’d heard that The Wake had been on Factory Records and back then I just couldn’t compute how the band had been on both labels. Listening to ‘On Our Honeymoon’ the opening track on this excellently presented ‘best of’ they do sound like an exact amalgamation between a Factory band and a Sarah band. Joy Division-style bass and drums blend perfectly with A Certain Ratio guitar and fey but bitter vocals. You can see exactly why The Field Mice cited them as an influence.
These tracks are drawn from their lengthy career dating from between 1981 and 2014. Crazy. ‘Favour’ too is rather great, the vocals are as indie-boy as it gets but the music backing it up as taut and tight with a pulsing kraut-like intensity. Over the course of almnost 25 years there’s bound to be some stylistic shifts and ‘Something Outside’ and ‘Talk About the Past’ are way more synth dominated than the early tracks coming in somewhere between the New Order of ‘Everythings Gone Green’ and doomed Scottish romantics The Orchids. Fast forward to ‘Pale Spectre’ the sound has changed again, they’ve brightened up a bit and employed a female singer. These later tracks are much more fluffy and...yes...Sarah Records and decent efforts like ‘Firestone Tyres’ are sort of in Felt territory.
The trajectory kinda follows New Order to a degree, brooding early post punk, synthy clubby melancholy to brighter tuneful pop. It all comes packaged in a great looking Peter Saville designed sleeve.
9/10 Bailey Customer review, 4th February 2015
I felt compelled to write a review simply because this is a great Best Of. Of course we all like an album, but to recommend a band to someone and select an album to start with won't always show the band in it's most inspired moments or maybe encourage the listener to pursue further, especially a band like The Wake whose loose timing and vocal style can not do them any favours if the song or emotion isn't quite there.
This Best Of has the exact same tracks I would have picked myself had I ever of been asked to compile one. So if you've never heard The Wake before, then this is an excellent album to start with. And perhaps all you need
Lovely artwork too, the colour in real life looks great
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- Testament (Best Of) by The Wake
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