Juhani Kansi, Uusi Laulu 5/1979:

Wigwam: Rumours On The Rebound

A Choice of Wigwam

[Translated by Timo Rauhaniemi and Claes Johansen.]

This album works as a sad and beautiful memory of a fine group. It fills me with sadness, it brings back memories; I listen to it with pride and at the same time I curse the dismal state of the Finnish music scene.

Isn’t it ironic that a group, who manage to invent a unique style and produce endurable music, a group that could have gone on for much longer, is forced to break up because of financial problems?

It is very hard to be a professional musician in Finland. If you want to keep a band together in the long run, you almost certainly have to make artistic compromises or become a ‘musical prostitute’. Argh!

Such circumstances forced Wigwam to disband, while Royals were declared bankrupt – who will be next in line? Wake up, people, and support Finnish rock groups before it is too late.

Under the leadership of Pembroke and Rechardt, Wigwam released an album in 1975 that will always keep its place in the history of rock music. Nuclear Nightclub was a melodic and beautiful affair. So much emotion and musicality had been induced into this LP that the group would never reach the same artistic level again. Virgin Records were smart enough to release it in the UK. The critics praised the band, whose faces appeared in New Musical Express and Melody Maker. They toured Great Britain as supporting act for Gong. But a massive advertising campaign was needed to obtain international success, and Virgin refused to pay for that. Thus the break-through never happened, though it was tantalisingly close.

Wigwam made a new try with their next album, Lucky Golden Stripes And Starpose, which was recorded in Britain. It wasn’t successful. Virgin didn’t release Dark Album at all, though it was a much better record than the majority of the label’s other releases. The same thing happened with Pembroke’s solo album Corporal Cauliflower’s Mental Function, which is a very fine record, of course.

Now Virgin tries to buy themselves absolution – or make more money out of Wigwam – by releasing this low price double LP. The compilation comprises material from the albums Lucky Golden Stripes And Starpose, Nuclear Nightclub and Corporal Cauliflower’s Mental Function, plus the single ‘Tramdriver’/’Wardance’.

Strange! This compilation still sounds very fresh. Wigwam’s music suits even today’s tastes. It has a sense of timelessness about it. I have long considered Jim Pembroke a musical genius. Rumours On The Rebound confirms this view. And Rekku is a fine songwriter, chord inventor, guitarist. Though Virgin should be praised for putting out this compilation, it also reveals a ridiculous policy. Why on earth didn’t they strike while the iron was hot?