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Album Review

Despite the flux they were going through, the Teardrops somehow got it together to record the heavily-hyped Wilder, which unlike its predecessor did nothing in terms of sales or smash singles, outside of the semi-successful shimmering keyboard/crunch of "Passionate Friend." This isn't for lack of talent on the band's part, and the trademark kicky arrangements and horns appear throughout. However, unlike the joyous outpourings of Kilimanjaro, Wilder sounds distanced. Cope doesn't come across as the lead singer so much as he does someone singing with the music, ironic given that he wrote everything on this album. As a subtler pleasure, though, Wilder offers up some good stuff, with more cryptic compositions and performances throughout, while Clive Langer takes over full production after only doing a few on the first album. Strangely, some performances sound like where Sting eventually took the Police on Synchronicity, musically if not vocally, like the layered attempts at tribal drumming on "Seven Views of Jerusalem." More measured, sometimes stiff songs like "Falling Down Around Me" make the overall mood more fragmented, while some of Balfe's keyboards sound like they're only there just because. When it connects, though, Wilder rocks just fine. The concluding track, "The Great Dominions," is one of Cope's all-time best, with a sweeping, epic sense of scope and sound. The angular funk of "The Culture Bunker" has both some fine guitar and a sharp lyric or two on Cope's part — the Crucial Three he refers to was his bedroom-only act with Ian McCulloch and Pete Wylie. Other high points include the moody synth shadings on "Tiny Children," where Balfe's work comes through best of all, and Dwyer's generally sharp drumming throughout, keeping the beat well.

Biography

Formed: 1978 in Liverpool, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s

One of the pivotal groups to emerge from the Liverpool neo-psychedelia community during the late '70s, the Teardrop Explodes was a showcase for Julian Cope, a notoriously eccentric figure whose unfashionable love of Krautrock and hallucinogenic drugs set him distinctly apart from the prevailing punk mentality of the era. Cope formed the band in 1978 after a tenure in the Crucial Three (also comprised of Echo and the Bunnymen's Ian McCulloch and Wah!'s Pete Wylie); taking their name from a panel in...
Full bio