[sic] Magazine

The Wide – Paramount

In the aftermath of Dead Guitars‘ swansong gig in de facto hometown Monchengladbach, I spoke with both (Dead) guitarists, Pete Brough and Ralf Aussem. They revealed to me their desire to continue in some way, shape or form. For Aussem, something of a guitar and production wizard, music is more a necessity than choice. Ralf needs to make music and he’s pretty darned good at it too. Fast forward a bit and here we have The Wide, a name that Pete was already kicking around back when we spoke last Christmas. Brough himself stepped up to the role of lead singer and the rest of the band remained as was. The Wide were born. Dead Guitars version 2.0, or minus 1 depending upon whether you’re a glass-half-full or half-empty kinda guy.

The album opens with promotional single, ‘Walking Away’, our first glimpse of the band post Carlo van Putten.

And it works.

Brough is the surprise. Where van Putten was assured and poetic, Brough is more fragile, melodic. At times he brings to mind the Liverpool scene of the early eighties. It’s a city with more than its fair share of melodists. Think Pale Fountains, The Wild Swans…. There is something of the Paul Simpson in Brough’s tender tones – he who once collaborated with the mighty Ian Broudie on the short lived act Care. Indeed Broudie’s own Lightning Seeds are thereabouts in the mixture. The album delivers on that early promise. There’s a nocturnal vibe throughout proceedings. ‘Stars’ is a carousel waltz that puts me in mind of Kitchens Of Distinction/Stephen Hero while ‘Heroine’ has an oceanic swell, conjuring Cocteau Twins and Pink Floyd by turns.

I actually quite like the name The Wide. There’s suggestion of limitless possibility. ‘Dead Guitars’ was an iconic song by The Sound’s Adrian Borland. A great song in fact. Good name for a band though? I felt it was too suggestive of Gothic. While they had their fair share of black-clad followers, labelling them Goth was too limiting for the band’s true appeal and abilities. They can do pop; they can do psychedelic jams. Their appeal should be, well, wider (pun intentional).

The title track provides a suitably epic finale, but not before we’ve had another whistle-stop tour of the sixties. ‘Fearkilling Love’ has a Beatlesque swagger albeit with heavier riffage, (think Afghan Whigs or Queens Of The Stone Age). ‘So In Love’ is a similarly Lennon-drenched affair. When Brough sings “How does it feel to be…….” I feel like replying, “…one of the beautiful people”. ‘So In Love’ (a lot of love on this record, clearly) quietly wins me over as does its sequel ‘You’.

We’ve been here before, haven’t we – band continuing after singer departs, musician stepping up to the mic, etc. Yes, it will take time for Pete Brough to discover which vocal melodies and phrasing best suit his voice. Yet Paramount is more A Trick of the Tail than Movement. This is a mature group of writers and musicians who know their craft.
I doubt it will take these guys four albums to deliver their Duke.

Gig review

First Glances