We rarely recognise momentous events when they are happening. It can take weeks, months or even years for their affects to ripple through our lives. One day we wake up and say to ourselves "that was fantastic". However, sometimes you just know you are part of history in the making. So it is with Wrangler and their latest album - White Glue.
If ever we needed a poignant reminder of where we are as a society, we need only look to track titles such as Dirty, Stupid and Stop, the latter being a prescient condemnation of rampant consumerism. Its a visceral wake up call or maybe even a call to arms.
Wrangler are not Eurovision Song Contest material however much of a spectacle the would be. Nor are they Top of the Pops material. They are three blokes just making some honest music and obviously enjoying the experience. Their self professed “Wrangling” of tunes by whatever means necessary and whatever equipment fits the bill is a testament to joyful experimentation harking back to a time beginning to cloud over in todays computer driven MIDI/Digital age at a time when mainstream music is processed until the last iota the fun has been wrung out of it in the name of merciless commercialisation. Their use of sumptuous sounding analogue equipment and a simple recording process is key to their success. Like many groups, the whole is often greater than the sum of the parts. Lazy parallels with Stephen Mallinders work with Cabaret Voltaire are far too easy to draw. Moments of Benge and his work with John Foxx are also apparent as are Phil Winters of Tunng. But its the fusion of personalities and musical influences that brings a whole new sound to the fore. Everyone has a part to play and everyone plays a part.
Where this album departs from their previous LA Spark is in its infectiousness. There is a new found confidence here as Wrangler seem to find their stride and deliver outrageous thumping bleeping electropop with a twist on a grand scale. The tense rhythms are hypnotic while synth riffs dart in and out of the psyche. There is an insidious quality to this album, a darker, more dire message is being delivered here. The single Stupid with its accompanying video, is perhaps a warning on mans inability to not learn from his mistakes. Perhaps we are genetically predisposed to destruct.
Overall it is a more relaxed and refined outing, less aggressive than its predecessor and in many ways easier on the ear. But don’t be fooled, its cleverly crafted and there is energy in abundance. With Wrangler, disappointment is not an option.
If the world is going to hell in a handcart, you can be sure it will be the artists left to sweep the floors and turn out the lights. For now, Wrangler are readying their brooms.