09
Feb
10

‘Sirius’ by Wonky Alice (1992)

Wonky Alice’s ‘Sirius’ gets off to a storming start with a fast tempo, and a sound that is strongly reminiscent of the ‘His N Hers’ and ‘Different Class’ era of Pulp.

The first verse or so still sounds fresh even to this day, never mind in 1992.

After the first minute, however, the song slowly becomes forgettable and uninspiring.

On the basis of this song, Wonky Alice come across as a band with lots of interesting ideas that are unable to form them together coherently.

The downfall of ‘Sirius’ is that it tries to do too much in one song.

At the start, it wants to be a straight-forward pop song; then it wants to be slightly experimental, then melodic and finally anthemic.

It may be ambitious, but going back and forth from various textures ensures that it sounds disjointed.

Furthermore, it fails to be effective in any of these four sounds. For example, the song never intends to be a pure pop song – to the extent that it has instrumental interludes in the absence of a chorus – so it fails to be a pop song.

These more experimental aspects were bettered by the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Slowdive – all bands that had a stronger emphasis on the fundamentals of experimentation – and it very much feels that these parts were cobbled together, at the last minute.

The use of a wobble board at the beginning, in particular, stinks of pretension and sees the band trying far too hard to be avant-garde without understanding the concept.

It is, therefore, hard for ‘Sirius’ to be melodic or anthemic, at any point, as both of these ventures were all too brief.

At the end, it sounds messy; it would have been far easier for the band to produce a melodic or anthemic pop song rather than to separate them so distinctively. Moose’s classic ‘Suzanne‘ is an excellent example of how it is possible to record a complex and experimental pop song.

If the band had managed to bring in a producer that allowed the band to tighten their sound and let it become more concentrated, ‘Sirius’ would have had more of an impact.

There are positives to take out of the song, though.

The band no doubt had a lot of charm and personality, which is undoubtedly the songs main strength and helped to carry the song through its 4 minutes and 43 seconds length.

However, you cannot help but think that the band could have used their charisma to create a proper three minute-pop song.

If they had done this, then ‘Sirius’ could have been a minor indie classic.

It is a real shame when you consider the potential that the song had.

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3 Responses to “‘Sirius’ by Wonky Alice (1992)”


  1. 1 Rico von Smallhausen III
    February 23, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Absolutely loved Wonky Alice & saw them a few times in the early 90’s, including one classic emically enhanced gig at Halifax Piece Hall where they supported New Fast Automatic Daffodils.
    To top things off, as we left the gig right outside the Hall was a development area featuring a soon to open DIY store – & it was a new FADS (I kid you not, honest injun)!!!

    • 2 Rico von Smallhausen III
      February 23, 2010 at 9:30 pm

      & have just remembered (& confirmed on a Pulp gig website) that Pulp supported too, although I’d have to be honest & say I don’t remember any of their set! :)

    • February 23, 2010 at 10:27 pm

      That is one of the best anecdotes I have ever heard! Wonky Alice, New FADS and Pulp sounds like a classic line-up.

      It looks like the gig you went to was advertised on the ITV Chart Show’s Indie Chart on the day of the concert – 5/9/1992(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQg9xf4rpqo). The date would match up with Pulp and the New FADS releasing new singles around this time (Babies and It’s Not What You Know, respectively).

      I loved the New FADS as well. They don’t make music like they used to anymore…


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