Angus MacKinnon, SOUNDS, July 5, 1975:

Wigwam: Nuclear Nightclub

WIGWAM ARE Finnish, and this is their seventh album in as many years, the first to be officially released in this country. Whilst admitting that my previous acquaintance with them is limited to 'Fairyport', a double set (1971), and 'Being', their fifth album (1974), I get the impression that they're a somewhat freeranging, 'conceptualist' band. And so to 'Nuclear Nightclub'. Personnel is as follows: Pembroke (vocals, pianos, lyric and song composition), Mans Groundstroem (bass), Ronnie Osterberg (drums, an original member), and Pekka Rechardt (guitars and composition). Additional keyboard contributions are made by Esa Kotilainen, who has since been replaced by Hessu Hietanen. Emphasis here is very much on short (2-5 minute) songs; they unravel themselves intriguingly as middle-eights, choruses, breaks and stanzas are all slotted into the delicate tonal web of sound. Pembroke's lyrics remain idiosyncratic and his phrasing totally original - effortlessly pulling lines out or compressing them. Instrumentation centres around strong bass and percussion, with Kotilainen texturing on synthesizer and organ. Rechardt is everywhere at once, lacing rich chords, harmonics and slooing with emotive fluency. Take 'Kite' for example - the song begins wistfully enough, with a soft drum backbeat and Pembroke etching out gentle chords on electric piano, before suddenly moving into a prolonged break, with Rechardt clustering notes together as so many golden coins 'Do or Die', 'Bless Your Lucky Stars' and 'Pig Storm' (the latter a guitar-orientated instrumental) are fast, headlong pieces, whereas 'Save My Money And My Name' (loosely based around the cow, cat and moon nursery rhyme), is correspondingly whimsical. That leaves the title cut, with a hook-line that'll leave you entranced, and 'Simple Human Kindness', its socio-political lyrical content contrasting perversely with the song's mood. This is an extraordinary record in every respect. Complexity and accessibility aren't normally eager bedmates, but on this evidence you'd think they'd known each other for years. This is absurd magic and you should hear it immediately.

MacKinnon's review of Nuclear Nightclub from Sounds, July 5, 1975