The first single Glasgow-based band The Wake ever released had two amazing songs on it: “On Our Honeymoon” and “Give Up.” On both tracks, the bass is dominant, powering the rest of the track forward while a guitar skitters around on top. The bounce between terse cymbals and the sometimes downcast, other times petulant vocals is wildly shocking and prescient for 1982. The Wake would go on to release records on both Factory and Sarah—two incredibly influential ’80s labels. “Give Up” even has an electronic breakdown. The Wake are also one of those bands that no one will talk about for years and years, until they come back pretty much out of nowhere, their secret influence broadcast proud and wide.
For this year’s Record Store Day, Captured Tracks—home to bands like Wild Nothing, Blank Dogs and Craft Spells, (AKA bands that owe quite a bit to The Wake’s dusky melancholy) re-released an early pair of singles from The Wake, including “On Our Honeymoon” and “Give Up,” as well as a third 7-inch with Wake covers from Beach Fossils and Wild Nothing. The band’s influence was laid out in plain sight, the artwork already fitting in with the rest of the Captured Tracks minimal, somewhat cold but still romantic aesthetic. The music also holds up so strongly that it feels a bit weird. “Give Up” could be released tomorrow and no one would be able to tell it wasn’t recorded yesterday in some dude’s bedroom while his parents were at work.
In addition to those collector’s 7-inches, Family Time Records, a crew of Suburban California kids that we featured in FADER #62, sent along a cover of “On Our Honeymoon” done by one of their bands, Dollchimes. Dollchimes keep much of the original intact—that rigid bassline still guides the song, but now there’s added guitar screech, the sound of something breaking and/or being thrown into a pool, and an electronic breakdown that brings to mind—what else—”Give Up.” We’ve never heard anything else from Dollchimes, so listening to this cover is like discovering a band that started because they only had one record, and just listened to it over and over until they were inspired enough to start their own band.
Dollchimes’ version isn’t meant to replace The Wake’s, but it does illustrate why the original is so great. In a time when we’re inundated with pointless covers of other songs just because bands feel like they need to remind us they exist, The Wake’s song is still so relevant and vital, so skeletal, that it’s a blueprint for new ideas. Even if no one covers it ever again, at least we’ll always have the originals.
Download: Dollchimes, “On Our Honeymoon” (The Wake Cover)