Crucial playlists: Bunnymen, Wah! and Teardrop Explodes

On a particular online message board I frequent, author, journalist and pop-culture know-it-all Keith Topping holds forth on all matters pertaining to footy, cricket, music, Hammer horrors, TV and curries. Keith’s knowledge of music, film and TV is encyclopedic, but coupled to a obvious love, or sometimes loathing, of the subject matter.

The subject of essential playlists for punk and new wave bands recently cropped up, with some serious muso knowledge being thrown about. Keith knows his shit, so he allowed me to reproduce them here. I dare any Liverpool music types to attempt to better them.

Sadly, my brilliant idea to replicate the playlists on Spotify hit a hurdle with Wylie. The music jukebox has a few blank patches going back over the years, rather like…well you can probably see where I was going with that.

But, there’s Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes playlists to listen to, and if you’re of a mind to you can fit them on a CD. Until Spotify catches up with Liverpool’s three wise men, here’s the playlists.

The Wild Swans at Static Gallery

Formed in 1980 by ex Teardrop Explodes keyboardist Paul Simpson, The Wild Swans cut a stylishly epic swath through Liverpool’s fertile post punk scene.

Along the way they spawned two revered splinter projects in Care and the Lotus Eaters, while all manner of other Merseyside luminaries ventured into their orbit (the Lightning Seed’s Ian Broudie, Pete DeFreitas of the Bunnymen and the Icicle Work’s Ian McNabb to name but three).

Blessed with Simpson’s Bowie-esque looks and voice, an alchemic guitar sound and a lyrical sensibility that seemed to predate Britpop’s romantic mythologizing of England by about 10 years, the Wild Swans inexplicable lack of success was a mystery that looked very unlikely to be solved.

Thankfully their recent decision to reform 21 years after their split has put forward a whole no case for them being one of Liverpool’s most underrated, seminal and downright brilliant bands.