Albm re-issue: Wilder by The Teardrop Explodes
Release date: June 24th 2013
Label: Mercury / Universal Music Catalogue
Wilder was the second and final album by The Teardrop Explodes, originally released in November 1981 and a radical, post-punk classic that’s ripe for reappraisal. Ambitious, colourful and catchy and with more ideas at play than most groups could conjure up in a lifetime, like so many great albums, it simply confused people in its audacity.
At the start of the year, Reward had given the Teardrops their only Top Ten hit but amidst all the publicity that always surrounded the group, Wilder reached only a disappointing 29 in the charts. The first extracted single Passionate Friend, despite two appearances on Top of the Pops, barely scraped into the Top 30. Within a year of Wilder’s release, the group had split up.
This new edition features the original album in all its glory, plus a second disc compiled and sequenced by Julian Cope containing all the related singles, B-sides and BBC radio sessions. Cope also provides a track by track guide while Dave Balfe, the Teardrops’ original keyboard player, foil and sometime nemesis to Cope, along with guitarist Troy Tate provide further notes; Balfe’s essay is a particularly honest and revealing account of the recording process.
Disc two is effectively an alternative version of the album, the BBC sessions presenting many key songs in a noticeably different form, closer to how the group used to play them live. One the eve of recording Wilder, bassist Alfie Agius and keyboard player Jeff Hammer (both of whom play on the radio sessions) were jettisoned, leaving only Cope, ever-faithful drummer Gary Dwyer and guitarist Tate. Dave Balfe then returned, whereupon he and Cope proceeded to rearrange virtually every song with a much greater emphasis on synths and experimentation, and with a far more downbeat complexion than the well-crafted psychedelic pop that was their trademark.
The radio sessions also include songs which didn’t make it on to the album; Cope’s take on John Cale’s I’m Not The Loving Kind and the powerful Screaming Secrets, a live tour de force which the group never nailed in the studio. Cope would eventually record it for St Julian.
Disc two also rounds up the B-sides to the three singles taken from Wilder: the infectious Passionate Friend, the punchy, brass-led Colours Fly Away, and the exquisitely plaintive Tiny Children, plus the non-album single You Disappear From View, a last-ditch reversion to the Reward formula, released in 1983 after the group had split up. It’s a rich and varied selection including the more challenging Christ Vs Warhol and Window Shopping For A New Crown Of Thorns, the charming, atypical Rachel Built A Steamboat, Suffocate (a re-recorded version of the song which only appeared on the US version of Kilimanjaro) and a full-on, live Sleeping Gas, recorded at Club Zoo.
Amidst the disbelief and surprise at Wilder’s poor showing, Club Zoo was an outrageously excess all areas six week stint at the tiny Pyramid Club in Liverpool featuring the Wilder line up of Cope, Balfe, Dwyer and Tate plus new bassist Ronnie Francois. Designed to break in the new band, it was more a dress rehearsal for the American tour that followed - a fraught, drug-fuelled disaster which saw the group unravel to a point from which they never really recovered.
Few groups promised as much as The Teardrop Explodes in those heady post-punk days; even fewer groups scaled the same dizzy creative heights. Wilder was their mountain top.
CD1 – Original Album
- Bent Out Of Shape
- Colours Fly Away
- Seven Views Of Jerusalem
- Pure Joy
- Falling Down Around Me
- The Culture Bunker
- Passionate Friend
- Tiny Children
- Like Leila Khaled Said
- …And The Fighting Takes Over
- The Great Dominions
CD2 – B-Sides and BBC Sessions
- Christ Versus Warhol (B-side ‘Passionate Friend’)
- Rachael Built A Steamboat (B-side ‘Tiny Children’)
- Suffocate (B-side ‘You Disappear From View’)
- Window Shopping For A New Crown Of Thorns (B-side ‘Colours Fly Away’)
- Ouch Monkeys (B-side ‘You Disappear From View’)
- East Of The Equator (B-side ‘Colours Fly Away’)
- Sleeping Gas (Live from Club ZOO, December 1981) (B-side ‘Tiny Children’)
- The In-Psychlopedia (B-side ‘You Disappear From View’)
- You Disappear From View
- Soft Enough For You (B-side ‘You Disappear From View’)
- Pure Joy Wins Out Again (BBC Session, Peel Plus, 1981)
- Like Leila Khaled Said (BBC Session, Peel Plus, 1981)
- I’m Not The Loving Kind (BBC Session, Richard Skinner, August 1981)
- The Culture Bunker (BBC Session, Peel Plus, 1981)
- …And The Fighting Takes Over (BBC Session, Richard Skinner, August 1981)
- Better Scream / Make That Move (BBC Session, Richard Skinner, August 1981
- Bent Out Of Shape (BBC Session, Richard Skinner, August 1981)
- Screaming Secrets (BBC Session, Richard Skinner, August 1981)
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