The Wake has announced they will release a new long-play, entitled ‘Perfumes and Fripperies’. A fixture in the early- to mid-90s goth rock scene, The Wake is re-emerging with a new offering, almost 25 years since their last full-length album. Ahead of that, they present the lead track ‘Hammer Hall’, a lushly layered, powerful, dark soundscape laced with infectious hooks and driven by signature vocals.
Hailing from Columbus, OH, The Wake are Troy Payne, Rich Witherspoon, James Tramel, and Daniel C. After forming in the mid-80s, The Wake earned critical accolades as part of the “second wave” of goth. Through their releases, appearances on a myriad of complications, and extensive touring with peers such as Skinny Puppy and Nine Inch Nails, The Wake secured their place in goth and roll history.
Metaphorically, ‘Perfumes and Fripperies’ is the space between the weight of darkness and the hazy, sheen of dreams. Here – dark, uneasy truths are revealed, fate and resolution come to terms, whispering dreams and memories dance together in the moonlight… there will be no sleep tonight.
“As our first full-length release in nearly 25 years, we wanted to make an unforgettable album that would represent The Wake of 2020 while also honoring our legacy. Inspiration for the ten tracks was drawn from many disparate sources and circumstances, written and recorded over a long stretch of time,” says Troy Payne.
“This album is a link to our past, a totem of the present, and a glimpse of the future. There’s never a question of who you’re listening to, but there is a fresh, modern feel to all the things that you liked about us in the first place. I think this record will appeal to diehard Wake fans, as well as dark music lovers that have never heard us before.”
From its inception, The Wake has been an outlier – an unlikely band, from an unlikely place, making unlikely music, and having fantastic success…relatively speaking. When singer Troy Payne and guitarist Rich Witherspoon founded the band, they couldn’t have imagined that what they manifested from a shared sense of “cool” would not only endure, but flourish more than three decades later.
In 1993, The Wake released their debut album ‘Masked’ via Cleopatra Records, considered to be a landmark recording to this day. While touring extensively, the band had other successful releases like the AP Dance charting single ‘Christine’, an EP of songs remixed by Rosetta Stone, and their third release ‘Nine Ways’.
Now, together with fellow longtime bandmates bassist James Tramel and drummer Daniel C., The Wake is positioned to help define a new decade of goth music with the release of ‘Perfumes and Fripperies’.
Recorded over many months in different locations and various circumstances in the band’s native Ohio, the album comes together to speak with one voice. This long-play was mixed by Matt Hagberg at VMS in Columbus, OH, and mastered by Emily Lazar at The Lodge in NYC.
As of October 30, ‘Perfumes and Fripperies’ will be available digitally everywhere, including Spotify and Apple Music and on CD via Blaylox Records. The album can already be pre-ordered directly from the band via Bandcamp.
P&F was written, recorded, and mixed over many months, in multiple locals, by different means, on different systems.
All songs written and recorded by The Wake
Recorded at Blaylox Studios, Suma Recording Studio, and VMS
Mixing and production by The Wake and Matt Hagberg at VMS
Final mix by Matt Hagberg at VMS
Mastering by Emily Lazar at The Lodge NYC, assisted by Chris Allgood
Second guitar on ‘Everything (feat. Wolfie)’ by David Wolfenden
Second vocal on ‘Rusted (Hz Healer Mix feat. Caroline Blind)’ by Caroline Blind
Design by Blaylox Arts
Cover art adapted from Fiona Hall’s ‘Vaporized’
Alongside bands like Screams For Tina or Mephisto Walz, The Wake were part of the first wave of American bands in the bona-fide ‘gothic rock’ style to emerge during the mid-late 1980s, thence to dominate the genre for much of the 1990s. As such, The Wake and their generation of American goth bands were distinct from the earlier US ‘deathrock’ groups, whose advent had run parallel to the early UK dark post-punk/proto-gothic scene of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Indeed, during the early ‘90s, Propaganda Magazine described the band as one who “would go on to shake the very foundations of the American death-rock underground”, while The Wake had become the first known band to be termed “Gothic as fuck”. Coined by noted music journalist and historian Dave Thompson of the Alternative Press to describe the sound of their album ‘Masked’ (Cleopatra Records, October 1993), this quickly became the favoured motto of the band’s label, Cleopatra, and the rest, as they say, is history.
But where their US gothic rock contemporaries often favoured a slightly noisier, guitar-driven approach, The Wake took stronger cues from the more immediate, catchy hooks and arguably more commercial songwriting of UK bands like The Sisters of Mercy; sometimes drawing criticism as being overly derivative of the Sisters’ sound. Over the years, however, the band have proven time and again that their formula for streamlined, accessible goth rock is not only a popular one with fans old and new, but one that they do in fact put their own unique spin on, not least because of their penchant for blending in more ethereal atmospheres and textures. The band’s most recent single, ‘Rusted’, remixed by John Fryer of 4AD staples This Mortal Coil, perhaps best exemplifies the marriage of these elements, creating what is arguably The Wake’s strongest, most innovative work to date.
1993 (L-R): Daniel C., Troy Payne, James Tramel, Rich Witherspoon, Rob Brothers.