One of the most significant and underappreciated groups of the punk-era Liverpool scene, Wah! (and titular variations thereon) functions as a vehicle for extrovert Pete Wylie. On Nah = Poo, Wah! sounds like Emerson, Lake and Palmer with hipper (though equally flamboyant) arrangements. Wylie sings melodramatically on stirring but superficial material like “The Death of Wah!” and “Seven Minutes to Midnight.” The man may (as he intimates) be a fraud, but at least he’s an entertaining one.
A Word to the Wise Guy — a full album and a bonus 12-inch — contains more of Wylie’s flighty excursions into soul, pop, funk and anything else he happens across. Although not very consistent, it’s an unpredictable and generally likable collection. Come Back has two versions of that ace track (also on the LP) plus a couple of other items. Weekends contains an alternate version of that album track as well as a demo for it and two other odds and ends from Wylie’s sprawling career.
The Way We Wah! is a retrospective of Wylie’s single successes, from “Hope,” “The Story of the Blues” and “The Seven Thousand Names of Wah!” to his reading of Johnny Thunders’ poignant “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory.”
Wylie’s first-ever American release, the delightful and commercial Sinful drops the Wah! front and finally acknowledges his solo-ness. He takes credit for vocals, guitar, harmonica and “odd bits”; the only other contributor listed is vocalist Josie Jones. Colorful wide- screen production (suggestive of the Motors a bit) frames the peppy melodies (“Break Out the Banners,” “If I Love You,” the memorable title tune) and unpredictable lyrics (“Train to Piranhaville”), making the ambitious Sinful a rewarding, fully realized effort reflecting Wylie’s unique perception of pop music and the world.
The Peel Sessions contains four Wah! songs, recorded live for British radio in August 1984.