Title - 'Tazer Up!' (Digitally Sound Records)
Artist - Wang Chung
OK, and for the record, I might well be friends with Wang Chung, both Nick and Jack always up for a chat, but this review of their brand new release is as focused, as journalistically unbiased as I can make it. You have my word!
The British New Wave band was formed at the turn of the '80s, and if you didn't know, their name actually means "yellow bell" in Chinese. It is also the first note re: Huang Chung (the way their name was originally spelt) in the Chinese classical music scale.
But I digress. It's been quite a while since Wang Chung released a full-length studio album. The Warmer Side of Cool back in 1989 the last one, sadly. And so, and making up for lost time, the duo of Jack Hues and Nick Feldman released an EP last year and have followed it up with the highly-impressive Tazer Up!.
Their newly-recorded version of 'Dance Hall Days (Psychemagik Remix)' kicks off this new release in fine style. Not only does it remind you (if you even needed such a thing to happen) of the band, but it gets your feet tappin', your body swayin', and your brain instantly ready in anticipation for what is about to come.
The no nonsense rocker 'City of Light' is next and is followed by the slow funk bass beats of 'Lets Get Along.' Such a fun song, it is definitely one for the replay button. One of the songs that has been heard before on their purchase-at-shows EP is 'Rent Free,' a track that focuses on something we all suffer from: about how the memories of a prior love interest can live "rent free" in one's head years later.
The slow-burning 'Justify Your Tone,' complete with a subtle TLC undercurrent is next, and 'Driving You' is a pleasant enough song, but more filler than killer, as they say (somewhere!). However, it is truly one of those songs that sounds like it could easily have been cut from the same album cloth as Mosaic (1986).
The brilliant funky bass beats of 'Why?' lead us into one of the best tracks on the album, for my money. Chock full of great beats, vocal and electronic musical distortion at its required finest, and a female ghost backer, the song is so lush to embody. Another song released a while ago on their EP is 'London Orbital,' a track that fairly ebbs and flows perfectly in all musical manners. I mean, if this isn't English New Wave music for the '00s I don't know what is!
'Abducted By the 80's' was released via the net a few months ago, the video going viral fast and en masse. A different version from that one, this updated version features singing from Jack, as opposed to the voiceover that the original one came with. Sure that voiceover remains, but is seemingly limited and more background noise than lead.
Coming into the final bend of the album and we get 'Overwhelming Feeling,' a song that is rare for Wang Chung: a ballad. The piano-based track is simply beautiful, so refreshing to hear. Indeed, the more I listen to it, the more it brings to mind the work of a solo John Lennon. No idea if this was an intentional homage, but nonetheless it is a clear stand out track. The whole album is then brought to a close with 'Stargazing,' another already-heard EP track, but yet another classic example of how good this band still are.
'Tazer Up!' MP3 Purchase Link