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Desert Wolves - Pontification

  by Tommy Gunnarsson

published: 17 / 12 / 2001

Desert Wolves - Pontification
Label: Tweenet
Format: CD


I could name many bands in the British 80's indiepop scene that were overlooked and ignored to death. Well, I won't bore you with that, but one of the most overlooked and underrated bands from that ti

I could name many bands in the British 80's indiepop scene that were overlooked and ignored to death. Well, I won't bore you with that, but one of the most overlooked and underrated bands from that time is The Desert Wolves. I had never actually heard of The Desert Wolves until earlier this year, when a friend of mine heard a song by them on a mixtape, and recommended them to me and said I would definitely like them. I soon found out that it was quite hard to find their old releases, and was about to give up when one of my regular visits to this site made me aware of the fact that a CD with their stuff was just available. Of course, I bought it, and I wasn't disappointed. Already on the first song, 'Mexico', it is clear to me that this is something good. It has jangly guitars (which always make me happy), great melodies and, last but not least, a great voice. Martin King, who sings and plays the guitar in this Manchester five-piece, has a voice which is reminiscent of Dave Jackson, vocalist with The Room in the mid-eighties. Other singers that come to mind are Lloyd Cole and Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet. OK, so there are nine tracks on this CD. "Are they any good?" you ask yourself now. Yes, they are good. Even brilliant at times. Aha, you want a more detailed description? Hmmm, OK, here we go: The already mentioned opening track, "Mexico", is a great starter. Martin King sings with his Hadley-ish voice that he wants to go to Mexico with his girl (I suppose), but going from Manchester to Mexico is quite long trip, so maybe he's still on the loose somewhere along the border. Maybe that's the answer to why the Desert Wolves split up. Or maybe I'm just being silly. Probably the latter. The next song is "Love Scattered Lives", which seems to be the "hit", if you can talk about a hit in this case. It seems to be their best-known song anyway, and it's great. "Stopped In My Tracks" has an intro that gives me the creeps. Here King starts doing that "darling, I miss you, and all the things that you do" spoken word kind of thing. It sounds really cheap, and it's a good thing that the song starts soon. The intro in fact is something that gives a 80's feel to the whole track, and when thinking about it, the album in general in fact has a certain 80's feel to it, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Not at all. And it's not very strange either, when looking at the recording dates; March 1987 to November 1988. Even if you asked for more details on the songs, I'm not going to give to full details of every song on the "Pontification" CD, because that would be very tedious and boring. But some of the standout tracks are "Desolation Sunday Morning", "Speak To Me, Rochelle" and "Passion In The Afternoon". The last song of the album is "The Gunmetal Jaguar", which gives me a hint that The Desert Wolves wanted to get away from their jangly sound, but apparently they didn't like that too much, as it seems that it's the last song they recorded. And as if the nine tracks weren't enough, there is also a bonus track on the CD. For you out there with a well-equipped computer, you can enjoy the Desert Wolves in motion. The video for "Love Scattered Lives" is included on the disc, but as my computer isn't of the newest kind, I was not able to see it. But I'm sure it's great. If anyone out there sees it, you are welcome to e-mail me with your views. The songs on this CD are all quite similar, so maybe you better not listen to it all at once. Don't get me wrong here, it's brilliant, as I just said, but after five or six songs you're not sure what song you are on, and sometimes you don't notice when it changes song. What I'm not sure of is if this 9-track CD contains the Wolves' complete recording history, or if there's more to get. The booklet doesn't contain very much info on the band, just a little bit of text about the band in their heyday which hasn't made me very much wiser on the subject (although I found out that radio DJ Mark Radcliffe produced some of the songs here, and also played keyboards). So I really don't know if this is an album, or if it's a singles compilation or whatever. But it really doesn't matter to me, because this is great pop music that should please fans of the C86-scene or just good pop music in general. The only reservation I have is that it's a bit expensive for being just 9 tracks long. But what the hell !

Track Listing:-
1 Mexico
2 Love Scattered Lives
3 Stopped In My Track
4 Desolation Sunday Morning
5 Passion In The Afternoon
6 Speak To Me Rochelle
7 Besotted
8 November
9 The Gunmetal Jaguar
10 Videatrack Love Scattered Lives

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