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on 1 October 2001
This is Wigwam's first studio album after the departure of two very significant personalities of the old line-up, so the music is very different from anything that came before. This is also the only true masterpiece of the new line-up. 'Nuclear Nightclub' features crisp, beautiful and insightful songs by Jim Pembroke and Pekka Rechardt. The band's prog-rock past can be heard occasionally, but most of all this is pure pop music. Pembroke's lyrics are both amusing and deep and occasionally they are quite indecipherable. All in all this album was a breath of fresh air amidst all mid-seventies humdrum nonsense. Even today it sounds as fresh as ever. If you're a die-hard prog-rock fan and you liked their previous work you're likely to be disappointed by this one, but for anyone into intelligent, quirky pop music this is a must-have. Comparisons to Steely Dan may be far-fetched but that's the closest you can get. Songwriting is top-notch as is the performance. This clearly is a quartet with extraodinary capabilities. My only complaint is the last song 'Pig Storm', which clearly isn't at the same level with the rest of the material. Other than that, this truly is a masterpiece. The bonus tracks include some great songs like 'Tram Driver' and some Pembroke solo tracks from hard-to-find albums.
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on 19 March 2010
It would be wise to disregard several points in the earlier customer review. True, there are no bonus tracks here but that is a minor quibble. The music is the main thing so please note that the album is remastered since the Virgin CD long ago and the sound is excellent. The fact is: Nuclear Nightclub is one of the classic 70s albums from one of the best and most imaginative and distinctive bands in the world. Ever.
It isn't fair to compare Wigwam to Genesis, as the other reviewer has done. That's like comparing figs to avocados. Gabriel-Genesis, Wigwam, Earth and Fire, Supersister, Kayak, Tull etc were all brilliant in their own way. It also isn't fair to compare the original Wigwam line-up (which featured Pembroke, Pohjola and Gustavson) to the Mark II line up (Pembroke, Rechardt and Kotilainen / Hietanen). While the original pre-Nuclear line-up was certainly more diverse and eclectic in compositions and arrangements by three brilliant composers, the Nuclear Nightclub line-up was VERY solid due to the strong package of Pembroke and Rechardt. All songs on this album are powerful, addictive and thoroughly engaging as is the album as a whole entity. Of course, after you buy this you will need to explore the earlier albums which are equally brilliant in their own way. Being, Fairyport, Tombstone Valentine: three more essential classics. Don't dither!
(PS: see and buy also: Jim Pembroke / Hot Thumbs O'RILEY - Wicked Ivory. Brilliant!)
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on 19 January 2008
If you're looking for Blur and Boo or whoever - Stop reading now! IF HOWEVER YOU LOVE GOOD CRAFTED ROCK MUSIC - Read on. Wigwam just happened to be in the wrong place (Finland) at the wrong time (mid to late 70s). With the media hype of punk all the decent music got pushed to the back of record stores to collect dust, but even crackling from an inch of dust Wigwam sound a thousand times better than any punk band (and I do like the Damned, Sham 69, The Clash etc). Clever lyrics from their English vocalist (Pembroke), soaring guitars and quirky rhythms, and drums that add to the music as well as give a solid grounding all combine to produce beautifully crafted songs, tongue in cheek lyrics and a sound you may never have heard before. Sadly punk saw the quick demise of Wigwam, but anything they produced is well worth a listen, it is unusual, it is different, no one else has achieved the mix of music and humour in the way Wigwam have. If you want an 'across the years compilation' get Rumours On The Rebound (Virgin label?), but as an early example of Wigwam, Nuclear Nightclub is a damn good place to start your 'alternative rock' collection. Now if they had entered the Eurovision Song Contest Finland would have got 'Nil Point' years ago because they have talent and produce good music and we all know the show has nothing to do with music or talent
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VINE VOICEon 23 March 2010
I bought this record when it first appeared, largely based on the great review by Chris Welch in Melody Maker. I was bowled over then by the inventiveness and subtlety of it and I am today, after listening to it while driving into work. I had not heard it for ages, having lost my original copy and in truth, putting it to the back of my mind. I am just delighted that it has been re-issued in such great sound and with a very good booklet. Thanks to all concerned.
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on 7 June 2010
What an excellent album! Yet another obscure gem turfed up by Esoteric's ongoing programme of releases. Received opinion seems to be that this album's predecessor -`Being' - is the pinnacle of Wigwam's career. However, for me 1975's `Nuclear Nightclub' is definitely superior, benefiting hugely from the addition of a guitarist, which rounds out the sound nicely. There is also no silly voice narrating as on `Being' - a common hazard of concept albums.

This is no prog rock album - certainly not in the vein of Genesis, as has been claimed elsewhere. Perhaps it could be described as progressive in the sense that it pushes the envelope of the rock idiom, but there is little in the way of twee arpeggios, self-important lyrics and all the other stylistic stereotypes of your average 70s prog rock band. Instead, what you get is a collection of mostly fairly short but perfectly crafted songs that bring to mind a plethora of classic rock influences: the laid-back vocals and guitar soloing give an occasional suggestion of The Grateful Dead, the more rocking moments remind me of Captain Beyond, and is that a whiff of The Doobie Brothers, a strain of Camel? As a whole, they don't sound so much like other bands as a unique band of their time: a wonderful, relaxing mid-70s vibe that I just want to immerse myself in again and again. No mouldering on the shelf for this album.

`Bless Your Lucky Stars' (6:00) and `Do Or Die' (5:03) are outstanding, but this is one of those consistently good albums that, if you `get it' you will enjoy all the way through.

Although Wigwam are a Finnish band, the excellent vocals are all by British musician Jim Pembroke, who also plays piano, so those who are shy of non-English accents in their music have nothing to fear!

The album is short by modern standards, clocking in at just 36 minutes, though that was probably about average for the time. The package has been thankfully unsullied by second rate `bonus' tracks. The album comes in an ordinary jewel case, and there is a colourful 16 page booklet with photos, lyrics, and an explanatory piece by the aforementioned Jim Pembroke.
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on 30 July 2009
Wigwam was a Finnish five piece band led by British ex-pat Jim Pembroke who sang, played piano and wrote several, though not all of the band's songs. He did write the lyrics for nearly all their songs, though, and the lyrics are a key element of this refreshingly unpretentious album from 1975, by which time most prog rock, to the ears of many, had become stale and devoid of inspiration. The rest of the band played guitars, drums, bass and keyboards ~ a fairly conventional lineup, but they were all good musicians.

JP didn't have a great voice, it must be said, which may well account for Wigwam's failure to break through into the big time. But for those of us who were there at the time, as they say, this is an album fondly remembered and played with affection from time to time.

For this reissue, no less than seven "bonus" tracks have been added, and they're not bad either, though none is included on the latest (and very modestly priced) digitally remastered edition. But Nuclear Nightclub certainly has its own particular charm and will always be a part of my collection.
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on 20 August 2010
I haven't given this review the above title for no good reason. Such is the Anglo-American axis on which a lot of popular music spins, and indeed probably spun a whole lot more back in 1975 when this album first came out, that coming largely from Finland was enough to ensure that the band wouldn't enjoy anything more than a cult following for all of English singer/pianist Jim Pembroke's way with a crafted gem and the band's instrumental prowess.

The fact that they could put a lot of British and American bands to shame makes that kind of poignant. Some of the songs on this album -'Freddie Are You Ready' and 'Simple Human Kindness' to name but two- pull off the not inconsiderable feat of being winningly clever, while instrumentally the band is accomplished without being self-indulgent. Hell, even the instrumental 'Pigstorm' is underscored by a measure of restraint that a lot of bands from that time could never manage, or perhaps didn't want to.

Still, reissues like this are always going to be timely especially as they give the musical archaeologists a chance to catch up.
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on 3 March 2015
All as promised !!!
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VINE VOICEon 27 February 2010
Yet again Esoteric rub their hands, dip into the past and get us to part with our money again. No bonus cuts, there were 15 tracks on the Virgin release!!! and now it is full price. A few tracks are good, but the original line up had fragmented and the sound was more late period Genesis .
Post note. I recently got this from All Your Music on the Love label. It is beautifully remastered and has bonus tracks. I have upped my opinion, this is a bit poppy but also enjoyable. The Love version has almost 22 minutes of bonus live material
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