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Wah Wah Limited Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Sept. 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Limited Edition
  • Label: Polydor
  • ASIN: B00000E5FR
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,633 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I really do think those who are awarding this album one or two stars are slightly missing the point of Wah Wah. As far as I'm aware this album was never intended to be fully formed or a flawlessly produced masterpiece. It is essentially a collection of out-takes and improvisation designed to give the listener an insight into the creative process the band go through to deliver their more polished efforts such as Seven or Laid. The liner notes written by Tim Booth explain how the project was first put together and essentially why they decided to release it.

There are only a few tracks here that could be considered "finished" i.e. have a proper flow, structure and lyrics. These would be Jam J, Rhythmic Dreaming, Gospel Oak, Honest Joe and Tomorrow. The latter was destined to be re-recorded by the band (and Stephen Hague) for 1997's Whiplash where it clearly stands out as a career high both commercially and in terms of "that's simply a great pop song". Here, the track is already fully formed a full four years before Whiplash but sports a much more rough and ready sound which characterizes most of Wah Wah right down to the minimalistic cardboard digi-pak.

Rhythmic Dreams is a blissfully chilled out jam with Booth free-forming lyrics over Gott's distant guitar work; a mellow stand out. Honest Joe and Jam J have a much more distorted and heavy sound; they both feature unpolished and rawer instrumentation and we can hear the band taking some risks with their sound. James would never sound quite so far removed from the jangly guitar and trumpets sound of their traditional sound again; excellent stuff.

I like this album a lot but know it's probably considered a niche or leftfield pleasure.
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Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Wah wah is the eccentric, experimental flip-side to the classic James release "Laid" in the mid 1990s. By that point the Manchester-based band had become indie darlings but were in danger of also becoming both the 'poor man's U2' and everyone's second favourite band.

This album, ironically produced by U2's regular collaborator Brian Eno, stands out as the most influenced by the former Roxy Music man and godfather of ambient, with the record credited firstly to him, and is actually a companion piece to U2's 'Passengers' project, which also had Eno in a dominant role.

Like that record it's been largely disowned by the band who made it, but the way the tracks segue into each other makes it feel like a day's changing weather (with 'low cloud' noises and raindrop effects). As for the songs, well if you can cope with the sudden shifts in mood and improvisational feel (which includes the lyrics) there's lots to enjoy - the original version of the anthemic and uplifting, very James-like (!) "Tomorrow", the techno pound of "Honest Joe", the pulsing, danceable "Basic Brian", the impassioned "Building A Fire" and the soothing "Raindrops Falling" and "Sayonara".

Recommended, but (like the "Passengers" record) probably more to Eno than James fans!
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Format: Audio CD
I remember first listening to this album and thinking "oh my god.... What have done". Thinking i'd wasted valuable student drinking money on an album of half-baked musical doodles. Stupid me I hadn't read the linear notes, which certainly cast new light upon it. After really 'listening' to the album in full I started to get what was going on. Delicate, immediate, going with the flow all sprang to mind. It's James at their most naked, creative-wise. Only the genius of Eno could have brought this out of a band riding on the wave at their most creative point. Like Kid A and many an Eno album it's best listened to through headphones in a dark room, close your eyes and just imagine being sat on a bean bag in a subdued studio whilst one of indie's founding fathers play an intimate set for you.
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Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Originally bought a copy of this when it first came out. Would dearly love to be able to afford another one (including the surrounding plastic 'tape' that had a habit of snapping) but for now a digital download will have to suffice. Lovely to hear this album again. It stands up in its own right and provides an interesting insight into the process of songwriting.
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Format: Audio CD
This is quite simply the best music this band have ever recorded, period! Anyone who says this is "unlistenable", et al, is not listening. This CD should have been the first thing they remastered, but instead it looks like they chickened out. Buy it whilst you can, and also hunt down the CD singles featuring the long version of Jam J, and the single from Laid which contains "Wah Wah Kits". Experimentation at its most LISTENABLE! Over and out.....
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Best band in the world, been to 5 concerts and another in July, just the greatest music ever AND from Manchester. They do not get the credit they deserve, they rank with some of the greatest bands as far as I am concerned. That is because I THINK THAT THEY ARE GREAT
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Format: Audio CD
A very strange one this, conceived almost entirely from pure compositions during the Laid Sessions of 1993 by the fantastic James and celebrated producer Brian Eno. Opinion within the James community is divided as to the merits of it. While some seem to think it the most inspirational and wonderful album ever created, some find it very boring - I have to say I agree with the latter party.
The best moments on this album are Jam J (hard punk with heavy riffs and shouted lyrics) and Tomorrow (fast pop with far-reaching lyrics), both tracks which (thankfully) James realised the potential of - both were released as singles, although Tomorrow warranted a re-recording first, and eventually ended up on the following album "Whiplash". There are also occasional moments of beauty, particularly evident in the pretty Pressure's On and Say Say Something, an instrumental which is mind-blowing and gentle at the same time (listen for Sal Davies' violin which shines through like a ray of sunlight through an overcast... amazing).
However, there are 23 tracks on this album, and although other tracks are tolerable (Gospel Oak and Honest Joe are both listenable songs), some are, frankly, a mess. Maria, which sounded good in the live acoustic previews, is over-distorted and perhaps too dark for the theme of the song, while its tune is hardly discernable. Low Clouds, apparently the sound of clouds scudding by, is basically three or four seconds of silence. Laughter is the sound of Tim Booth laughing his head off over a weird backing riff.
True, a lot of this stuff could make a good film score, but only a few of this tracks have full album potential.
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