This posting is tinged with guilt. Guilt, because it should have been written 4 months ago when the cd was actually released. That it has taken so long to for me to write about The Wake's latest album should in no way be taken as evidence of any lack of excitement about it - I did rush to Glasgow's Monorail Music to buy it on the day of release, after all! I guess life just got in the way. "A Light Far Out"(LTM) is wonderful; the best record to feature extensive use of synthesizers I've heard in a long time. So many of the songs are given an extra touch of feeling by using the synth not as a carrier of melody but as a provider of emotional depth. The cherished elements from previous releases are still present: Caesar's youthful vocals, some Peter Hook-inspired bass and lots of perky guitar-lines that warm the heart. We're not talking about some facsimilie of past glories here, mind. At times there is the pitter pat of laptop beats and on "Starry Days" a tender piano that locates the song somewhere on the Rive Gauche in the rain in 1968. It features Carolyn Allen's sole lead vocal. And what a vocal; so intimate, every word beautifully enunciated. It's a real highpoint of the record as is the title track whose intro approaches The Field Mice's luminous "Quicksilver" for tender wonder (it's those synths - so pretty, so loaded). At 9 minutes 10 seconds and with seaside sounds, it's not your standard pop song but every single second of it is necessary and welcome. I'd assumedThe Wake to be defunct a good decade ago, Caesar and Carolyn devoting their time to their theatre company 12 Stars and to intermittently making sublime records with The Field Mice's Bobby Wratten as The Occasional Keepers(one of that group's songs, "If The Ravens Leave", is present here). I'm so glad I assumed wrongly.
Recently, The Wake have been sharing demos, alternate versions and live tracks on their Soundcloud page. It's an object lesson in how to use that site and well worth bookmarking.