Artist : Acoustic Wig
Tracks : Missed the Point / Ever Been Loved / Rifftastic
Many years ago, when my band was signed to EMI, a big wheel A&R man there had a big cardboard box of cassette tape demos in the corner of his large office. I asked after it and he said that while bombing up the motorway he rejoiced in throwing the tapes in which he could see no commercial potential out the window. Acoustic Wig is one of those tapes…after a lorry has been over it. Twice. And this is why I love Acoustic Wig.
I can be honest in stating that I never expected at this point to review an artist with self-indulgent reference to such marginal Sixties counterculture staples as The Fugs and Frank Zappa protege Wild Man Fischer. Probably, understandably, to most – all – of you reading this, those references mean nothing. However, growing up in the early Sixties, schooled by older brother in music, I was at a tender age already aware of those artists, and others, who beyond thinking outside the box, lived outside of it, and basically stamped on it, kicked it down the road, and took to unboxing themselves in ways most of us would find intolerable. Needs must, however. Cometh the artist, cometh the reference. Acoustic Wig, self-described as a Swansea "solo punk studio artist" in bands since he was twelve, now 37, is – as Monty Python put it – "something other than else", although actually "something other than something other than else else" might nail it better. Wig's punk thing is post-out there feral rock and roll, not sounding like The Fugs or Wild Man Fischer, but in spirit the same sort of none size fits none borderline bedroom sub-sub-genius with an unbridled appetite for celebrating their own capacity for making noise that only fellow fringe characters and a certain type of academic can long endure. Missed the Point, one of three tracks sent to SWND by El Wig to evaluate, is classic destroy it yourself lowest-fi weirdness. "I think I miss the point of being human" Wig emotes, and this does not come as a great surprise, because the song sounds like something beamed in from a planet where certain mad Sixties garage punk bands have only just arrived and are now worshipped in a sort of surreal sonic cargo cult. Wig considers "tribal living" in a short spoken section, too, putting forth some choice post-hippie propositions as endearing and utopian as one would expect from pure punk. Ever Been Loved is similarly challenging, coming across as the lesser work of a great, great band reverse engineered into a tortured ghost of itself, its spacey percussion and winding guitar and random psychic debris overclocking to the point of dissembling. Rifftastic? An instrumental outpouring, random factored and filthy basic, a time and motion study that seems to go nowhere forever. This is crude, heartfelt, marginal musical therapy all out on the table, art that eats frames. When all else has been said and done, there will always be the Acoustic Wig's of this world, and like other mutations doomed to perish they are essential for their ephemeral, futile splendour.