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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 17 December 2006
Landmark album by one of the most original and uncompromising artists of the past 50 years. The self-declared genius behind this group is of course Luke Haines, and, as will aready be obvious, I agree with his declaration. I like his worst music and love his best. This album from 1993 and the first in the Auteurs series contains some of his very best. Tracks like Showgirl, How can I be wrong and Starstruck are standouts. Showgirl gets to a point where you don't think anything could get any better - but then it does just that during the guitar solo which makes up the last 30 seconds. He's been likened to the Kinks and Bowie, but, while the influence may be there, he does not sound like them; he sounds like Luke Haines, and, if there is any justice, which there is not of course, he'll eventually be remembered as just as important.
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on 14 January 2001
New Wave is the debut album from Luke Haines superb band The Autuers. The opening track Showgirl is an atmospheric masterpiece, with great arrangements and intelligent lyrics. The album continues to impress with songs including: American Guitars, Valet parking and the brilliant single Junk Shop Clothes. There are heavy influences of early Marc Bolan, with Haine's voice a mixture of the T.Rex lead singer and Roxy Musics Bryan Ferry. His unique approach to song-writing, gives this album a very original touch that will keep you listening time after time.
New Wave was also nominated for a Mecury Prize award in that year, but due to its chilling material was disregarded among the masses. If you are into dark, atmospheric, but easy listening music, this album will be like a breath of fresh air and belongs in your record collection.
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 2 October 2007
It's odd how this album has become quite forgotten, failing to enter the lexicon the way much more mediocre records tagged "Britpop" do. It's amusing to think that the misguided judge on the Mercury Panel who voted for 'Suede' over 'New Wave' set Luke Haines on another trajectory. One that was even more interesting and encompassed Oliver Twist, the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the English Motorway System, Leeds United, Unsolved Child Murders, The Rubettes, The English Travelling Wilburys, Patty Hearst & a Pop Strike. That is a different story, while I'm of the opinion that Haines and accomplices/employees got greater, 'New Wave' remains a great record. Five stars, obviously...

1992's debut single 'Showgirl' got critics very excited, an indie hit that was almost a hit single and one that had fans including the Pet Shop Boys when people cared. I first saw The Auteurs support a 'Drowners'-era Suede, and they kind of blew them away, despite the hype. Of course, Haines' didn't slap his backside with a mic and wasn't so obviously in hock to 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars.' There were influences, but ones a little culty and worked well into the Auteurs' own sound - Haines' mentioned the Modern Lovers' debut as the model for 'New Wave' - the "health shop" reference in 'Showgirl' probably could have come from a song like 'She Cracked' ("I stay at home/eat health food at home", I think!). Like Suede, there was a general glam air - I'd say T Rex over Bowie - though it's a bit more subtle than Suede and Denim, the pair of bands who probably were the 'Glam Racket' Mark E Smith sang of during his 'Infotainment Scan.' There's more than a hint of the mighty Go-Betweens, literary lyrics, far too clever, like a bedsit Dylan lost in a certain England. Haines' has cited The Only Ones, and that is more than fair when considering Haines' guitar on songs like 'Don't Trust the Stars', 'How Could I Be Wrong?' & 'Early Years.' In a more general sense, Haines' is tapping into an English tradition of lyric that was a bit forgotten at the time - we'd had indie-dance, ambient, grunge, variants of rave, shoegazing, and were just a sniff away from stadium house - so you could think of the neglected part of Ray Davies' career (late 60s-early 70s), Mark E Smith, Elvis Costello, and the caustic side of Kevin Rowland. There are reminders of the early work of The Smiths, though not in that dreary way bands like Gene and Raymonde sounded like them; on the other hand, 'New Wave' predicts the few decent Morrissey albums of the 1990s in sound and lyric: 'Your Arsenal' and 'Vauxhall and I.' & I'd go on the record and say that a certain kind of England Haines' is singing about predicted the horror that was The Libertines - play this against either of their records and see how overrated Docherty & co are. The Go-Betweens/certain period of Orange Juice elements predict the band we know as Belle and Sebastian - take a look at the lyrics to 'Showgirl' or 'Junk Shop Clothes' and you'll pretty much find B&S' career, albeit better and several years earlier...

'New Wave' always sounds good this time of year, it's amazing just how loaded with joys this debut album is - 'Bailed Out', 'Idiot Brother', 'Starstruck', 'Housebreaker', 'How Could I Be Wrong', 'Junk Shop Clothes'...why does it feel a bit forgotten? Was it too clever? I certainly recall people having that mild aversion to The Auteurs that some had with Morrissey/The Smiths and Belle and Sebastian - though I guess 'After Murder Park' and 'baader meinhof' put paid to that, the u-ziq remix thing too. It's possibly Haines' least caustic album, despite the fact it includes lines like "I want to kill your sister with some business advice" and pretty much all of 'American Guitars', a sneering at a certain band/scene.

'New Wave' is a pretty darn great debut, though I'm of the opinion that neglected follow-up 'Now I'm a Cowboy' is probably a better record in similar climes - especially 'The Upper Classes.' With 'New Wave', Haines and The Auteurs pretty much set out the landscape - I know 'Modern Life is Rubbish' and 'Suede' popped up around the same time, so why is it that Haines feels like a pioneer? Amusingly, Haines would reject the Britpop thing and record an album with Steve Albini - embracing alternative-America a few years before Damon Albarn decided that was where it was at! I would like to point out that the first disc of the three-cd set 'Luke Haines is Dead' has lots of lovely related material - 'She Might Take a Train', 'Government Bookstore', 'Subculture' and lots of alternative live/session versions. Some of which are better than those here, notably the BBC session take on 'Junk Shop Clothes', the single mix of 'How Could I Be Wrong' & the unreleased single mix of 'Bailed Out.' So, maybe that wonderful compilation should be investigated too?

'New Wave' remains an assured debut from one of the great English songwriters, though I would like to point out my favourite songs to emanate from Haines & co don't include any of the songs here!: The Spook Manifesto, Child Brides, Mogadishu, The Facts of Life, Leeds United, Christ, Unsolved Child Murder, Kill Ramirez, The Upper Classes, What Happens When We Die & Future Generation. As D:REAM and Tony Blair would predict in the 1990s: Things can only get better...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 May 2013
Thinking again about master song-writer Luke Haines 'entry onto the scene' with this brilliant 1993 debut album by his band The Auteurs, I was reflecting on the album's title - no doubt a slightly (OK more than slightly) tongue-in-cheek comment on (I might suggest) Haines' view of his music vs. the music/fashion that predated his album by 15 or so years. Of course, the other thing that New Wave was 'famous for' (at least in Mr Haines' memory, no doubt) was being pipped at the post by Suede's debut album for the 1993 Mercury Music Prize (just to reassure you, Luke, given the chance I would definitely have voted for New Wave - I mean it's not even as if it was up against Dog Man Star!).

What is maybe (though probably not) remarkable about New Wave is that it still sounds just as fresh and inspiring (timeless, even) now as it did 20 years ago, and (in my book) still represents the best thing that Haines recorded in any guise (Auteurs, Baader Meinhof, Black Box Recorder, North Sea Scrolls or solo projects). As has often been cited, whereas Brett Anderson & co. (certainly in Anderson's dreams, I suspect) were firmly ensconced in the 'Bowie sound' camp (Diamond Dogs era?), Mr Haines and Co. were undoubtedly closer to Ray Davis' Kinks in terms of their lyrical dexterity and (unfailing) pop sensibility - indeed, it was (and still is, listen to North Sea Scrolls) Haines' infectious sense of melody and song dynamics that always shone through, despite a feeling that the man was rather sneering behind it all.

New Wave contains 12 songs -each a pop gem in its own right. Haines' lyrics are, as ever, witty and insightful (albeit perhaps slightly lacking some of the vitriol he was later to display), with a focus on issues emanating no doubt from his (perhaps rare) brushes with pop music stardom, such as failed (or misplaced) ambition, a dig at the US rock scene, the perils of a child showbiz celebrity and a general distrust of authority figures, as well as perhaps more mundane ways of spending your time (itinerant burglary and car valet parking). Particular favourites would include the heavenly acoustic feel of the songs Junk Shop Clothes, with its subtle melody disguising Haines' ironic take on music fans (hippies) propensity for wearing such, and the wonderful Valet Parking, featuring the best glockenspiel this side of Sunday Morning, a tale of the humdrum, and with a killer riff to finish. Of the songs with a rockier feel it would have to be How Could I Be Wrong, Haines' self-confident (possibly arrogant) tale, featuring some rocky guitar from the man himself, together with James Banbury's cello adding an ethereal quality, and album highlight the near-epic Idiot Brother, built around a great riff, and providing a vibrant tale of sibling rivalry, and for me one of Haines' finest ever songs.

Incidentally, the original album release also contained a free 7-inch single with two other great songs, the pulsating Subculture (They Can't Find Him) and the brief acoustic ditty She Might Take A Train (both included on the Luke Haines Is Dead triple CD compilation).

Whilst, for me, New Wave just about edges out the follow-up Now I'm A Cowboy, all 4 of the band's albums are excellent with (for me) How I Learned To Love The Boot Boys bringing up the rear behind After Murder Park (rated by some as the band's best). The Luke Haines Is Dead compilation is also well worth having for the alternative song versions and other rare Haines material.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 4 October 2007
Overshadowed on its release by the UK music press's ongoing fascination with Suede, this is a quality debut by Luke Haines and gang. Marc Bolan is an obvious influence and along with Haines' razor sharp lyrics, this is one of the finest debut albums in living memory and 'Show Girl' is the coolest opening album cut ever.
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The Auteurs 'New Wave' is without doubt one of the great debut albums of all time, showcasing as it does the lyrical savagery of one Luke Haines, a seething malcontent who honed his lyrical barbs to a lethal point on this wonderful album. Much of its lyrical theme is on 'stars' and 'stardom', from a geezer who was never likely to be one. The album is almost uncanny in its anticipation of the whole 'celebrity' shtick that currently holds sway over the media's consciousness. Plus, it contains some boss tunes - 'Junk Shop Clothes', 'Idiot Brother' - just two of the darkly glittering Pop jewels in Haines swag bag. And, the thing is, he got better and better - and this album has not dated one iota. Make Luke's life a little more bearable by buying a copy of 'New Wave' now!
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on 1 June 2008
Wonderful, inexhaustibly brilliant collection of melodies, lyrics, vocal performances and guitar hooks. And listen out for the cellos too. The Auteurs' second greatest moment (you'll need to stray into Murder Park for the first).
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on 9 February 2010
I am a heavy metal fan.Not just heavy metal but death/thrash/black metal. When my slightly biassed mind heard this album it was stunned,absolute brilliance.I wouldn't even waste the word britpop on this masterpiece,it is beatlesesque in a 1990's format.I bought the next albums and was gradulally less impressed but this album needs recognition.Genius.
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on 30 January 2004
What Luke Haines and the Auteurs acomplished here was an erudite, melodic, largely acoustic set of songs that perfectly capsulated the early brit pop scene in a way to which only the Auteurs could. This album is fairly perfect and is a wonderful treasure of simple, yet wonderful songs. When the album produces some of its greatest songs like "Junk Shop Clothes", "Bailed Out", "Starstruck", "Show Girl", and "Housebreaker", you've got a sound that approaches an attractive combination of early 70s Bowie, the Go-Betweens, and the Beatles. superb.
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on 19 August 2005
If you like The Smiths, Velvet Underground, the Beatles when they started taking acid, Kate Bush - anything slightly gothic - well this album is nothing like any of that at all, but you will love it.
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