WOLFHOUNDS - UNSEEN RIPPLES FROM A PEBBLE CD
Originally released in May 1987, after their appearance on the now-legendary C86 cassette given away the NME in spring 1986, this well-anticipated reissue of the long deleted debut album by The Wolfhounds sees its first ever appearance on CD remastered from the original tapes featuring all the original material they recorded for The Pink Label in 1985-1987, as well as the re-recording of the song Me released as a 12” single on Idea Records in 1987, along with a previously unissued outtake (Boy Racers RM1) from the same sessions.
1985-86 had seen the band rise from a couple of years of hard slogging around the pubs and squats of London and its suburbs to becoming “bright new hopes” with regular reviews and interviews in all the music papers of the time. Formed out of then predilection of teenage school friends David Callahan (vocals) and Paul Clark (guitar) for both post punk independent singles and the scratchy garage aesthetic found on the “Pebbles” and “Nuggets” compilations, the band soon recruited another teenage schoolfriend, Andy Bolton on bass, 15-year-old drummer Frank Stebbing (youngest brother of the Purple Hearts guitarist, Simon Stebbing), and Pauls workmate Andy Golding from the shelf stackers at a home improvements store.
Cobbling equipment together from cheap Christmas presents, “accidental’ donations and the money that could be raised from a few shady transactions, the band saw little stand in their way as they fed back and fell over around every beery dive in London, learning as they went along and finding that it wasn’t too hard to blow their older rivals offstage.
Introduced to the Pink Label by local fanzine writer (and now film director) Ron Scalpello after being turned down abruptly and unsurprisingly by every major label, they rang Callahan up at 2 am to ask him if he wanted to make record. He said yes just to enable his parents go to back to sleep.
The four-track “Cut the Cake” was recorded and released in late 1985, after most of the band had left home to live in shared houses in East London, and received “single of the week in all three weekly music papers. Such a situation continued for all their single releases, while regularly incendiary gigs in packed pubs and clubs added to their live reputation, colourfully reported in then inkies gig pages.
With all this non-industry derived hype building, the debut album was greeted warmly, and still got numerous rave and five-star reviews despite a critical backlash against “C86”and what was perceived as “fey indie pop. The Wolfhounds went on to tour much of Western Europe and Britain that year, drunkenly misbehaving as most young bands do.
The band, however, felt that the LP didn’t capture the more aggressive elements of their sound (dubbed “aggro pop and “noise pop in Europe at the time) that they had managed to record on some of the singles, and began to harden their sound afterwards, releasing further distinctive and even experimental records until their split in 1990.
Despite their contemporary misgivings, “Unseen Ripple From A Pebble” has stood up remarkably well over time, and secondhand and ripped copies have been informing and influencing a whole new generation of DIY and indie bands. Even shortly after their break up, both Manic Street Preachers and Nirvana admitted their influence.
After they finished up first time around, Callahan went on to form the innovative Moonshake in 1990, who accumulated even more rave reviews being one of the first rock bands to incorporate sampling technology fully into their sound, while still sounding original.
Come this century, The Wolfhounds reformed, giving energetic and noisy performances of new and old material, and have just released a new album entitled “Middle Aged Freaks”matching and even bettering their original recordings.
In the last few years, the band have featured in several books including John Robbs “Death To Trad Rock” Bob Stanleys “Yeah Yeah Yeah” and Sam Knees “A Scene In Between” while their key recordings have been compiled widely on such milestone releases as “CD86”“Scared To Get Happy” and the deluxe “C86”reissue. The reformed band have played gigs in celebration of some of these records and books, travelling to New York, Madrid and Berlin Popfests and performing as main support to old schoolers like the Undertones and Primitives, as well as sharing bills with a new generation of truly independent bands.
This reissue of some of the very best underground pop music of the 1980s can only add to The Wolfhounds reputation as one of the great lost bands of the decade, while their current activity ensures that todays record buyers, downloaders and gig-goers will be getting a good idea of what they’ve been missing
Rain Stops Play
Lost But Happy
The Anti-Midas Touch
Rule Of Thumb
Public Footpath Blues
Stars In The Tarmac
Another Day On The Lazy “A”
Cut The Cake
One Foot Wrong
Whale On The Beach
Me (7” Version)
Hand In The Till
Boy Racers RM1