Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Wigwam - Nuclear Nightclub

Wigwam
Nuclear Nightclub


Released 1975 on Love-Records/Virgin
Reviewed by jaxen, 22/09/2007ce


1. Nuclear Nightclub (Pembroke)
2. Freddie Are You Ready (Rechardt - Pembroke)
3. Bless Your Lucky Stars (Rechardt - Pembroke)
4. Kite (Pembroke)

5. Do Or Die (Rechardt - Pembroke)
6. Simple Human Kindness (Pembroke)
7. Save My Money & Name (Rechardt - Pembroke)
8. Pig Storm (Rechardt)

The point zero of the psychedelic rock in Finland was Jimi Hendrix Experience concert in Helsinki, May 1967. Concert had an ultimate influence for group called Blues Section. Blues Section was the first rock-act signed for the Love-Records, a left-wing record company that was to be the most influential one in the 70’s Finnish music scene. When Blues Section broke up one year later, it remained divided into two bands, the most important ones in 70’s Finnish progressive-rock; more jazzy Tasavallan presidentti (trans. President of the Republic) and more artsy prog Wigwam. Both performed with British-born singer and also made some cult success in British Isles.

Wigwam accidentally hit the Finnish top-ten with their single ‘Luulosairas’ in 1969. After their first long-play ‘Hard’ n Horny’, American svengali Kim Fowley became interested in the band, and wanted to produce their second record ‘Tombstone Valentine’. It didn’t hit the charts or make international success. After ‘Tombstone..’ bands line-up stayed same to the 1974, when organist/singer Jukka Gustafsson and basist Pekka Pohjola (also toured with Mike Oldfield) left the group after releasing their epic album ‘Being’. Wigwam nearly disbanded, but the rest of the musicians wanted to keep going with a new guitarist that joined in the year before (Wigwam toured from 1970 to 74 without a guitarist).

In summer 1975 the new line-up (british Jim Pembroke voc, kb, Måns Groundstrom b, Pekka Rechard g and Ronnie Österberg d (Esa Kotilainen synth)) camped in a villa by the Gulf of Finland and rehearsed for new material. That material differs from Gustafsson-era deep progressive music. They called their new style ‘Deep Pop’.

Nuclear Nightclub was recorded in Stockholm summer 1975 (because of the lack of quality in finnish studios those days). It opened with a catchy self-titled song followed by stream of clean, intellectual pop-songs patterned with the late great Österbergs’ airy drumming. Esa Kotilainens’ string-machines, moog-synthesizer and keyboards colored arabesque-like songs.
Album suddenly topped the Finnish charts and sold gold. Band was again performing for full concert-halls. ‘Nuclear’ was released also in Sweden and Germany. Richard Branson interested about Wigwam and Nuclear Nightclub released the album in the UK under his new ‘Virgin’-label. Filed under ‘Eurock’, Wigwam was in the same category with bands like Gong and Faust. They even played a free gig in Hyde Park and later same year toured as a support act for Gong.

They recorded the following album for Virgin, but made not the wanted hit single and two years later it was too late. New Wave came in and nobody was no longer interested in their music.
But that’s all another story.

However Nuclear Nightclub was and still is something else. A gem from the middle of the seventies. Hard to categorize and definately Unsung.

- Rolf Jacksen


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