Yung Wu! This brings back memories. They were an oddball side project of the Feelies led by their percussionist Dave Weckerman. As it was produced by Feelies guitarists Glenn Mercer and Bill Million it sounds pretty much like the Feelies but with a more naive pop style with nods to the Modern Lovers and something of Daniel Johnston in Weckerman's rudimentary voice.
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A time long ago I was young and carefree when my only worry in life was completing my collection of the Feelies side projects. The day I found the Yung Wu record was a special one. I had no idea what to expect. I mean...Yung Wu... I thought it would be experimental...or Japanese...or both.
I needn't have worried because it was (and is) a total delight. Percussionist Dave Weckerman steps forward from behind his bongos to write the songs and sing whilst the remaining Feelies back him up. The songs are more direct, more simplistic than those of the parent band but those guitar tones of Bill Million and Glen Mercer are exactly as they are on Feelies records and so if you can't get enough of those beautiful textures then you need this.
In fact if the Feelies were ever to have had any indie hits then it could well have been Yung Wu who provided them. Weckerman can barely sing but his songs are resolutely catchy with lovely flowing choruses. There's something of the Jonathan Richman or Daniel Johnston in his quivering delivery but the songs are so lushly and beautifully played and arranged that his songwriting is dragged to a higher level. 'Spinning' is a classic example of this.... sort of imagine R.E.M backing someone like Johnston to get an idea of the juxtaposition of the barely in key delivery and the gorgeous jangly sound. There's lots of good stuff here but also a few covers. The band waltz through songs by Rolling Stones, Neil Young and Brian Eno and they are all lovely, fitting right into the aesthetic.
If you are frustrated that the Feelies glory days output lasted only three records then you need stuff like this, the Trypes and the early Speed the Plough records to see the bigger picture of what they were up to.
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