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Wigwam - Lucky Golden Stripes And Starpose CD (album) cover

LUCKY GOLDEN STRIPES AND STARPOSE

Wigwam

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.20 | 69 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Of the three "deep-pop" era studio albums that the Finnish prog legend Wigwam made in the mid/late seventies (the other ones being the celebrated Nuclear Nightclub, 1975, and the admittedly uneven but better-than-many-think Dark Album, 1977), this one has always been the least interesting for me. Now it's time to re-evaluate it, thanks to the recent 2-LP reissue by Svart Records. The additional vinyl contains the original mixes (by producer Ronnie Leahy and engineer John Eden) of the 5 songs that Wigwam chose to remix for the album, and four rehearsal tracks recorded in January 1976 in Virgin's Manor studio. This bonus material offers the listener an opportunity to spot the little differences between various versions, but I personally don't get very excited by them. Actually I would've rather had the separate single songs 'Wardance' and 'Tramdriver' which have appeared on the CD reissues. The best thing about this vinyl reissue is naturally the new interview-based liner notes. They are printed (in a font that imitates the slightly smudgy ink of an old typewriter) on the supplementary sheet, while the inner side of the pretty good-looking gatefold sleeve includes the lyrics and other album information.

After the success of Nuclear Nightclub, and with the British recording deal, the gate was seemingly open to the possibility of an international breakthrough. However, not only because of the band's own domestically oriented preferences, things started to go downhill. Even the recording sessions in the Manor weren't very comfortable for them. As bassist MÃ¥ns Groundsroem recalls: "It was interesting to work in England in a quality studio, but I feel we should've continued with our standard concept. The situation and Virgin brought us pressure." According to guitarist Rekku Rechardt "something in Manor killed our creativity. The album was done from a strictly professional standpoint, leaving our own relationship with the material lacking". Indeed the result lacks the fresh breath and the happy aura of Nuclear Nightclub, but still it's very far from being bad. First, the songwriting isn't nearly as uninspired as I thought from my old listenings ages ago, and the production surely has its merits too.

Especially for the lyrics of Jim Pembroke, the album has a dark, pessimistic feel, which however doesn't always concern the music. 'Sane Again' is a short but in a way powerful opener, followed by 'International Disaster' in which dystopic words are combined with light-hearted music. 'Timedance is just a tiny jam snippet to fill the space of the first side. The strongest and the proggiest song is definitely the dark-toned 'Colossus', one of Rechardt's compositions. Some of Pembroke's songs are musically rather mediocre, but sincerely of his own style. The title track has a great bass riff, but despite being the longest (6:34), it's not very progressive. This album isn't memorable, but nor does it have terribly weak songs either. In the end it's a fairly good, albeit short set of prog-flavoured anti-commercial pop. If you like the other two albums of this Wigwam era, perhaps you should have a try with this one too. The gorgeous mock-Medieval cover art of Mats Huldén is a reason in itself to favour the vinyl, whether or not you're having a deep interest in the alternative mixes/rehearsals on the bonus LP.

Matti | 3/5 |

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