This is the 40th Anniversary edition of Wipers legendary debut album Is This Real? for record Store day and it comes with a poster signed by Greg Sage and a bonus 7" single. Here's where I have to admit that no matter how many friends played Wipers too me in the 80's and the amount of times they were used as filler on bootleg cassettes I never got any of Wipers albums before now and really should have done a long time ago.
Right from the opening Return Of The Rat play low slung bass heavy punk that's obviously influenced by The Stranglers and that cracks along at a really good pace as they aren't messing about and it has a real adrenal rush to it.
Mystery is an early power pop punk classic that flies by in no time at all well under 2 minutes as Greg Sage makes sure we all know it's a Mystery in a far more gripping fashion than Toyah did.
Up Front has an urgent rush of energy to get everyone Up Front pogoing and moshing like crazy as the guitars do some very cool things on the instrumental section.
The pace keeps up on Let's Go Away that is the sort of sentiment that would have struck a chord with lots of kids who just wanted to move away and have the lives they wanted and this garage punk blast is the perfect tune to play as they leave town.
Is This Real? Is one of the songs on the album I know the best and it sounds like every bit the sort of song you'd expect Trouser Press to have been frothing at the mouth about when it came out, as you get to the bit with the bass being main instrument it sounds a good bit like Talking Heads but that's just for a brief moment as we all want to know Is This Real?
Tragedy is the bands own song of the title that has been used by a few other bands and this is a good dark tale of injury and pain with jittery guitars and more rock-solid bass driving it along.
It's really nice to hear the original version of D-7 a song I'm used to hearing with female vocals by Healthy Junkies as well as Nirvana's cover, this is good and raw and a bit slower than the rest of the album but still it's a great and disturbing song.
Potential Suicide has that air of desperation built in to get us into the mind set of someone so depressed they might kill themselves a song full of taut tension as we look over the side of that tower block and wonder if we should jump or not, the drumming feels like the pounding in your head as you try to make your way through the fog.
Don't Know What I Am is another speedy rush of confusion as they try to figure out who they want to be, with an almost siren style guitar solo and as ever really driven by the bass playing.
Window Shop For Love would be obviously about Amsterdam if Wipers were European, but being American that's not the case, but they way they tell us, we can look but not touch makes it sound like they are actually desperately searching for some love no matter how desperate they sound.
Wait A Minute is of course one of the longest songs on the album as they plead for 3 minutes for us to wait that minute for them as they wonder why we are all so supine and ready to just wait and this is full of the impatience of youth and a great way to close the album.
The bonus 7" single is of the original 4 track sessions that starts with another version of Mystery that's a little lower fi than the album version but still just as urgent and catchy as all hell.
The 4-track version of Tragedy has the vocals even more upfront than before to let us know just how bad things were and the drums stand out more on this version than the album version.
The b-side of the bonus single has a raw rough and ready version of Let's Go Away that is more indebted to The Ramones than the finished version with guitars that are almost buried in the mix of this primal blast.
Is This Real? Is totally there vocally, while the music sounds like they are still trying to perfect the tune and haven't worked out the solo's yet, but it's still a cool version and well worth hearing.
Find out more at https://jackpotrecords.com/shop/the-wipers-is-this-real