Formed in the mid-1980s from the ruins of a band called The Gordons, and with The Clean drummer Hamish Kilgour (brother of David), Bailter Space enjoyed a fairly long run of success, rising during the grunge years and earning comparisons to the likes of Pixies, Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth (according to Wikipedia, one writer described them as the “Sonic Youth of the Southern Hemisphere”).
Wammo is the groups fifth album overall, and has the distinction of charting twice on the NZ album charts – first in 1995 when it peaked at #31, then again when it was reissued on vinyl in 2021 and peaked at #23.
Musically, the group sits comfortably among those grunge and noise-rock acts, lots of loud and jangly guitars with a crunch effect as opposed to full distortion (think Arctic Monkeys instead of Metallica). Wammo is quite a refined album though; I always think of bands like Pixies as quite rough around the edges, but Wammo is well composed, well mixed. It’s a bloody good album, to be honest, even if the style inevitably means that songs run into each other a little.
My favourite track here is mid-album belter “Retro” – though I’d also recommend openers “Untied” and “Splat”.
CLTM (Chris Listens To Music) is my attempt to listen to a new album every day; you can follow my efforts on Instagram here (and send recommendations), and if you like what I’m doing, support my efforts by shouting me a cuppa at Buy Me A Coffee.
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