Wavelength is a work of melodic rock and soul that ranks amongst Van Morrison ten best to this listener. The 1978 album has been enhanced by the addition of live versions of the title track and Kingdom Hall, recorded that same year at The Roxy in LA. The track Kingdom Hall is a full bodied rock song with a great hook and rousing vocals, Checkin' It Out a lilting mid-tempo ballad with baroque instrumental passages, Natalia a meandering love song.
Venice USA has a bouncy reggae rhythm, lovely organ and an addictive sing-along chorus, the slow ballad Lifetimes with its unusual instrumental mix is an extraordinary sonic experience whilst the title track with its handclaps and R&B vocals represents the artist at his most soulful. I love the guitar textures on Santa Fé/Beautiful Obsession, the brooding vocals on Hungry For Your Love and the intricate piano rolls on the mournful Take It Where You Find It, the most spiritual song here.
Because it is not experimental or any form of radical stylistic departure, Wavelength may not be considered a classic in the league of Astral Weeks, Moondance or Tupelo Honey, but it still deserves its five stars through and through. The two added tracks provide a window on Van at his live, atmospheric best. Other recent re-releases include Sense of Wonder and the aforementioned Tupelo Honey, both worth acquiring. These enhanced albums all include the lyrics and the original artwork.