Hot off the Press

Wig Wam | Wall Street

by Mark Allen
Staff Writer —

Once upon a time, fans of this Norwegian glam rock band would wig out whenever they released a new album, their excitement as justified as putting a bullet in a pedophile’s brainstem because the band’s debut was fantastic and was followed up by a genuine glam-rock classic in Wig Wamania. Both albums glutted themselves with glam-rock hooks and sing-along choruses and massive harmonies and cool-cheese lyrics and fans gobbled it up like Rosie O’Donnell binging at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

But then came the band’s third studio album (or fourth, depending on whether you consider 667…Neighbor of the Beast and Hard To Be A Rock N Roller…In Kiev to be distinctly separate albums or just different versions of the debut) and not only did it find Wig Wam evolving (some would say devolving) into a more straight-forward melodic hard rock sound, but it also showed some chinks in the previously-impenetrable armor. While there was still plenty to love, for the first time there was also some filler tarnishing a Wig Wam album, pollution creeping in where previously only perfection had existed.

So expectations must now be tempered when approaching this latest offering. Will it be a return to the glory days of Wig Wamania…or another good-but-not great offering like Non Stop Rock N Roll? Well, stylistically speaking, it’s much closer to the latter than the former, with the band still mostly in melodic hard rock mode rather than glam, but some of the songwriting on this release exhibits marginal improvement. That’s not to say there aren’t some tracks that are the sonic equivalent of porcine feces, because there certainly are, but they are offset by some super-catchy gems, making this an uneven but still enjoyable album. Your opinion of this release will basically depend on whether you are a glass half-full or a glass half-empty type of personality. You can dub this a disappointment or you can consider it a flawed success and either position is both easily defended and easily countered.

For example, “OMG! (Wish I Had a Gun)” is a doozy of a rocker, packed with a pounding beat and a healthy dose of attitude, not to mention a big chorus that features more big backing vocals than you could count with an abacus, two calculators, and all your fingers and toes. But right on its heels comes “Victory is Sweet,” which is so dull that pharmaceutical companies are studying it to see if they can bottle its attributes and sell it as a cure for insomnia. But making up for that woeful track is “The Bigger the Better” with its pop-edged Def Leppard vibe and overt catchiness…only to be followed by “Tides Will Turn” which wants you to be moved with emotion and succeeds…except the emotion is unbelievable boredom. Then you get “Try My Body On” which rocks out with a slithery sexual groove and the kind of decadent addictiveness that once defined Poison, complete with lascivious lyrics and a gang vocal chorus. But before that you have to slog through the bluesy barroom swagger of “Wrong Can Feel So Right,” which is one of the better fillers, but that is definitely damning with faint praise.

Bottom line, Wall Street is certainly not up to the ridiculously high bar Wig Wam set for themselves early in their career, but just because they blew their best load a little bit early doesn’t mean the band doesn’t have any bullets left in their rock ‘n’ roll guns. Wig Wam is still very capable of scoring a direct hit and nailing the bulls-eye…they just do so more sporadically nowadays. That said, Wig Wam cranking on only six cylinders instead of eight is still better than many bands’ best. Wall Street might be a little subpar by Wig Wam standards, but by any other standard it’s pretty damn good.

Genre: Melodic Hard Rock, Glam

Age Sten Nilsen (Glam)–vocals
Trond Holter (Teeny)–guitars
Bernt Jansen (Flash)–bass
Oystein Andersen (Sporty)–drums

Track Listing
1. Wall Street
2. OMG! (Wish I Had a Gun)
3. Victory is Sweet
4. The Bigger the Better
5. Bleeding Daylight
6. Tides Will Turn
7. Wrong Can Feel So Right
8. One Million Enemies
9. Try My Body On
10. Natural High
11. Things Money Can’t Buy


Label: Frontiers Records

Hardrock Haven rating: 7.5/10