Three teenage Jews attempt to remake ‘With The Beatles’ in 1982. In Miami, Florida, in a studio that only produces salsa bands.
This is a terrible formula.
Unless, of course, you’re The Wind and you perform a mighty mitzvah and minor miracle, turning in, possibly, the greatest power pop album of the 80’s: lavishly reissued here by the freshly manicured paws of the one-man-gang at Vinyl Countdown (‘For Hardcore David Werner Fans ONLY!’).
One of the precious few groups featured on Chuck Warner’s Teenline series capable of consistently delivering over the course of an LP, the Wind - alongside Terry Brooks, Amnesia, Wowii and White Witch - stand fast in the front rank of Florida’s under-appreciated, aberrant order-of-battle. The sound here is not so much early Beatles’ copy, as say the Poppees or Rockin’ Horse, as much as it is a fresh and energetic ’65 garage band (think Beau Brummels) combing their bangs forward and badgering pen-pals in London to mail them the latest discs. Thin, undistorted guitars reminiscent of the best of the Mindbenders ‘power’ through the majority of the proceedings, fleshed out by tea-chest drums and bass and ‘Not A Second Time’ piano. As well as three distinct vocalists whose styles range between full-on Wayne Fontana, a cross between Jonathan Richman and Peter Brady, and a more restrained David Byrne that you could resist punching-out. Recording in mono with only the barest of over-dubs also contributes immensely to the punchy, period vibe.
Yet, in an era where it seemed like everyone was reviving something, what really set The Wind apart from the high-fashion, Voxx/Cavern paisley brigade was their willingness to commit. Chic-ness be damned! Thus, in the grooves therein, open ears will find that not all is ‘Teenage Shutdown,’ ‘Turds On A Bum Ride’-style rave-up, but rather the entire scope of the ’65 sound which the Cheater Slicks of the world have sought so stridently to see expunged. To go for a McCartney-cum-Rundgren-style torch-song such as ‘You Changed’ or ‘She’s Nobody’s Girlfriend’ sans all irony in 1982 was not seen as revivalist. It was heresy, and by rejecting all the sacrosanct truths of ’77 and telling the Au Pairs and Crass that you think their hats and haircuts look stupid (and they did). On the first track of the album, over a brisk, Gants-inspired beat, The Wind hurl down a gauntlet in the form of a question which the combined junk habits of Jah Wobble, Michael Gira and David Tibet stand absolutely no chance in answering:
‘What’s The Fun?!?!’
That in mind, it’s not surprising then to learn that the band died a death practically every night following their relocation to NYC over five years too late: where hardcore dome-heads looked askance at our bar mitzvah boys irresolute curls (not even Kurt Loder’s approval could save them, yuck, yuck).
More than a power pop or 60s revival band, The Wind represent college rock if that term could be shorn of all its icky, asymmetrical pejorative-ness, like if the db’s had stuck to the sound of their first single or if the 80s garage revival stood for anything more than bone jewelry or lunchboxes. Although the Wind say absolutely nothing new in the way of lyrics and fail to ‘push the envelope’ in expanding the sonic frontier, when you look at the alternative - mush-mouthed R.E.M. musings and songs about tiki gods, go-gos, and heroin – perhaps our Dade County heebs should be commended for remaining so pure and uncut. Appealing, endearing and enduring Where It’s At With The Wind proves that while lightning never strikes twice, atavism can quote-unquote ‘work’ and sometimes work wonders.
pick up a copy of The Wind reissue LP right HERE.
and check out video vlip of The Wind performing "Whats The Fun" right here...