The Handy Wah! Whole

All the [a]Wah[/a] you'll ever need.

For 20 years,[a]Pete Wylie[/a] – under the guise of a multitude of bizarre [a]Wah[/a] monikers – has ricocheted between magnificence and ill fortune. Between the dissolution of Liverpool’s Crucial Three (with Julian Cope and Ian McCulloch) in 1979 and his belated ‘comeback’ album earlier this year, Wylie released a flurry of fantastic singles, was dropped by several record companies, endured innumerable band bust-ups, broke his back, and talked volumes of absolute bollocks. As a result, he has become a Liverpool legend, a world-class ligger with an ego to match his talent, a man forever reaching for something grand, yet falling short of achieving the level of recognition he always felt he deserved.

This consolidation of [a]Wah[/a] recorded history argues persuasively for Wylie‘s inclusion in the pantheon of great songwriters. All of Wylie‘s (many) inconsistencies erased by omission, the [a]Wah[/a] trajectory is plotted from the early Clash-idolatry of ‘Seven Minutes To Midnight’, through the expressive, sumptuous soul ballads and melodramatic pop of Wylie‘s ’80s heyday (‘Story Of The Blues’, ‘Hope’, ‘Come Back’, ‘Sinful’) to the stirring – if cartoonish – terrace anthem ‘Heart As Big As Liverpool’. Anger, pride and despair have rarely been articulated quite so ambitiously as they are in these songs – even the ones that sound like Simple Minds.

Wylie is determined not to be forgotten, and with this, there’s little chance he will be. Thirty-one songs. Two and a half hours. All the [a]Wah[/a] you’ll ever need.