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The Wake Ups | Wanna Meet...The Wake Ups? (Laughing Outlaw)
Purveyors of power-pop to please a certain Mr Hansen, coming as it does with added 'grit and determination', Sydney-based quartet The Wake Ups were originally known as The Scruffs, unaware of similarly named 'legendary' '70s power-popsters. In fact this very album received a European release via a Spanish label under that moniker. Repackaged by Australia's prolific, erratic Laughing Outlaw label, the record is worthy of a second bite. With the intensity of Velvet Crush or Matthew Sweet's more abandoned moments, 'Wanna Meet...' is high-energy pop, with lots of dampened string percussive rhythms, tempered with tasty harmonies and the prerequisite jangle to keep things interesting. Ryan Ellsmore's engaging voice holds it all together, and sits particularly well with the change of pace of Second Time Around and token ballad, It's Not Me. At the tail-end of the album, the likes of My Friends Are So Boring and Little Bird inspire comparisons to the multi-faceted Sloan, the first a Chris Murphy-esque gem, the other a second chance to chill out. Elsewhere the You Am I/Stax groove of Let You Down and beefed-up Nobody Slows or closer You Make Me Nervous suggest a fine time awaits anyone witnessing the band in a live setting. On this evidence the queue to meet The Wake Ups could reach around the block.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002