Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Now Hear This: Wig Wam


     Way back in 2005 my brother sent me an email. He had been watching the Eurovision Song Contest and...

     Okay, wait--if you don't know what the Eurovision Song Contest is it is an annual competition held between many of the countries in and around Europe, each country selects an artist and song to enter into the competition, those artists then perform those songs on live television, the songs are judged in a way similar to an Olympic event and an artist (and thus country) is chosen as "winner," the most famous winner of the contest still being Abba who won for Sweden with "Waterloo" in 1974, but you've got to check out the future voice of White Lion, Mike Tramp, competing with his band Mabel in 1978:

     ...back to our story, so my brother was watching the Eurovision Song Contest (why? why not?) and he saw a band that he thought I would like. They were called Wig Wam and oh yes, my brother knows me well. Wig Wam were definitely a band I would like. Here is the Eurovision performance my brother witnessed:

     As far as I'm concerned "In My Dreams" is a perfect song. I love everything about it, especially the riff that kicks in at the end of the line "Aim to please is all you ever do" and of course the soaring chorus--COME ON! COME ON! COME ON! LOVE IS ALL OVER ME! YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE LIVING IN MY FANTASY, IN MY DREAMS! I'll even go out on a limb and assert that this song is better than the Dokken song of the same name. I can't believe I just said that, but I did. You be the judge, here's the studio version:

      Wig Wam hail from Norway and call themselves, individually, Glam, Teeny, Flash and Sporty. They obviously take their songwriting very seriously but there is an element of tongue in the cheekiness reminiscent of the Darkness, in fact I've been known to describe Wig Wam as the AOR Darkness, or the DAORkness, pronounced, of course, DORKNESS. They wear ridiculous wigs (hey, I just realized, is the name a reference to this?) and make-up but they aren't quite a Steel Pantherish parody. Perhaps an adequate interpretation would require a European sense of humor?

     Wig Wam's first album came out in Norway and Sweden in 2004 and was cleverly titled 667...The Neighbour Of The Beast. The album was given a wider release in 2005 with an unfortunate new title, Hard To Be A Rock'n'Roller…In Kiev. You can get it on iTunes, which is just what I did after my brother sent me that fortuitous email. The album is cheesy as hell, more pop than metal. Say you were to put Survivor, Savage Amusement era Scorpions, Danger Danger, and Kik Tracee in a'd get Wig Wam? Something like that. They are not for everyone but I like them a lot. 

None of the songs on the first album are as great as "In My Dreams" but songs like "Bless the Night" sure keep me entertained:

     "In My Dreams" was actually released as a single between albums. By the time second album Wig Wamania surfaced in 2006 the band had toughened up their image and sound. Wig Wamania isn't quite as fun as the first album but there are more and better riffs, as evidenced by the single "Rock My Ride."

     After a long wait the band's third album, Non Stop Rock N' Roll, finally came out in 2010 and it is their best album, song for song. They will never top the majestic "In My Dreams" but Non Stop Rock N' Roll is full of great pop metal tunes like "Wild One."

     My favorite song on Non Stop Rock N' Roll is "Still I'm Burning." The song is the closest Wig Wam have come to replicating the atmospheric verse/bombastic chorus model established by "In My Dreams." It's definitely another sing along too loud in the car jam. I really love the "there ain't no one there ain't no one like you" part.

    The band released a disappointing fourth album last year called Wall Street. I've found little to like about it apart from the title track.  Perhaps I need to give it another listen. I'll keep you posted.

     So there you have it. Wig Wam--an acquired taste? Let me know what you think.

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