That Was Then, This Is WOW

Issue #27                                                                                                              Apr. '01

A minute thirty seconds in and the opening track The Media states: “A screaming headline is often the worst/It tries to say too much with too few words”…WOW realizes that a CD title is the headline.

That Was Then: Cover art (front and back) includes ultrasound images of the band members’ unborn children.

This Is WOW: 3D-ish computer bust images of the band members. The intertwining of these two contrasts draws our attention to the fact that the band has grown…

That Was Then: In ’98 WOW was a trio consisting of Peter Buckley (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Andrew Russell (bass, guitar, vocals), and Gary Burton (drums, percussion, vocals).

This Is WOW: The departure of Gary Burton in ’99 led to the addition of Andrew Beale (drums, percussion, vocals) and Buckley’s brother Joe (guitar) to the core of Peter & Andrew making the ’01 version of WOW a standard 4-piece Rock-n-Roll outfit.

That Was Then: WOW’s 1st release One Hit Wonder, a CD of 12 British Invasion influenced Power-Pop songs. (Which IndepenDisc featured in Issue #3 - the Nov./Dec. ’98 Zine).

This Is WOW: WOW’s 2nd release That Was Then, This Is WOW, a CD of 12 Pure WOW-styled PowerPop songs.

That Was Then: Like this cover art depicting the difference between a fetus in the womb, and fully-grown humans WOW repeatedly acknowledges the fact that on the 1st disc they were being nurtured by Rock-n-Roll. Not just through the influence of the 60’s British Invasion (and British Invasion-style) bands such as The Kinks, The Who, The Standells, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Gary & The Pacemakers and more, but through the whole Pop/Rock scene. All of it, the writing, the recording, the playing, everything involved was consumed, digested and incorporated into making WOW a tighter, better, rocking band. While at the time we could just hear the talent oozing forth, we had little idea how this band would grow.

This Is WOW: And how this band has grown. After changing the drummer and adding a guitarist WOW then backed Pat DiNizio (former leader of The Smithereens) for several high profile gigs in ’00. WOW also won a recording grant from Jim Beam’s Benefiting Emerging Artists in Music (B.E.A.M.) that helped to subsidize this disc.

That Was Then: In the Mid 60s Pop bands would record and release a single, if it charted they would then record and release another, then another. Once they achieved relative success with the singles, they would package them together, add a few cover songs along with a few more originals and release it as an LP. Almost guaranteeing sales due to the strength of the multiple singles.

This Is WOW: WOW has released an LPs worth of singles. Recorded at various times over the course of a year (Oct. ‘99-‘00) WOW packs this disc with a dozen expertly crafted Pop gems that shows what a few years did for the band. The song writing is top notch and shows a development that’s hard to ignore. From first hand experience we pity the A&R man who needs to choose which single(s) to release here. Where to start? Let’s hit random…

Completely Wrong: Opening guitar riffage leads to a drum hook that grabs you until the 3 & 4 part harmonies kick in, tight guitar solo bridge…

Cumberland Ave.: Lead in Harmonica above a solid backbeat spills into a nostalgic story of bygone party days, utilizing keyboard and harmonica to carry the lead, accompanied by a chorus of great harmonies - By the time both guitars take the bridge in a low-fi key the hook is in…

Dayglow: Ringing sweetheart of a song, styled in the 60’s vein of harmonies echoing the lead vocal while the lead guitar dances on the high end with the pulsing rhythm section driving the chorus home - etching itself it your brain for days…

Undercover, Aimless: Reaches out with a solo guitar lead hook that is provocative enough on it’s own, but when the rest of the band announces itself with a driving force we’re off and running - bangin’ the skins and ringing the symbols the precision of the percussion underscores the harmonies perfectly…

Did I Break Your Heart: Another solo lead guitar hook opening, a laid back rhythm until the harmonica lead sucks us in, then with our full attention the refrain begins and builds with a call and response that has us gasping for breath…

I Know You: Ringing guitar hook just above the ticking of the drum rims, solid bass delivery moves us through an alto vocal drenched in solid Pop emotion with the support of perfectly placed harmonies and a chorus worthy of heavy rotation…

Do we need to continue? We could do the same with the remaining six tunes. Every song here is written to perfection, alone each can stand as a single; together they give us a party platter of musical delight.

That Was Then: Pop bands came and went based on the strength of their singles, some stretched that into 1 or 2 LP careers, while others, after knocking out a string of successful formula singles, never could produce a full LP of quality songs and faded into relative obscurity, still others grew, matured, and went on to successful careers where the merits of their albums allowed them the luxury of not needing to produce Pop singles to stay active.

This Is WOW: WOW has taken the Pop formula derived in the 60s added Power and stamped it with next age determination. They’ve grown, they’ve produced an LP chock full of Rock-n-Roll singles that would leave the One Hit Wonders of yesteryear in awe. The album opens with the sound of channel surfing, it then stops as the Power of WOW explodes…no need to change the dial any further, WOW does it for us, every song a new Pop experience. WOW has given us the greatest hits package that takes most bands an entire career of singles to cultivate, and they’re just beginning…

That Was Then, This Is WOW.

The headline says it all.

The next age of PowerPop is now!

The CD That Was Then, This Is WOW by WOW
is now available for: $9.98 +s/h*
$5.98 +s/h*

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                     Add $1.50 per each CD after.
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                          Add $2.00 per each CD after.
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                                        Add $3.00 per each CD after.