Hands In The Till: The Complete John Peel Sessions by The Wolfhounds, out this Friday on Slumberland Records here in the States, is the sort of release one didn't know one needed. A useful reminder of the power of this lot, and a welcomed set of souvenirs from earlier eras, this compilation is full of crucial music.
Front-man and founder Dave Callahan launched this group in 1985 and the band, of course, gained some degree of fame thanks to being on the original C86 cassette from NME magazine. Still, for a movement that got pegged as being the fire that fueled a thousand jangle-pop groups, the movement let The Wolfhounds take their place in subsequent years as a brave, lyrically-astute lot, and one interested in commenting on things as much as finding a good hook.
Hands In The Till: The Complete John Peel Sessions by The Wolfhounds offers up the band's Peel sessions from that era and slightly after with standouts being the classic "Anti-Midas Touch", the simmering "Rule of Thumb", and the sharp "Happy Shopper", one of the band's best songs. Elsewhere, the plaintive "Non-Specific Song" feels like a cousin to lots of what The Wedding Present crafted in those years, even if Dave Callahan has a smoother voice than Gedge, while the fevered "Whale on the Beach" threatens to spin off the rails, shades of early Woodentops appearing here too. To reference those other bands is not meant to be read as a slight on the talents of The Wolfhounds, but it is, instead, meant to highlight how great this band was, and how unfairly their genius has been neglected even as other, similar bands have achieved more attention over the years.
The Wolfhounds are, of course, still making great music, but it's worth buying Hands In The Till: The Complete John Peel Sessions when it drops on Friday as it's both an essential document of a vital era, and a solid compilation of some of the best guitar-based indie one is likely to find.
Hands in The Till: The Complete John Peel Sessions will be out this week via Slumberland Records in the USA.
More details on The Wolfhounds via the band's official Facebook page.
[Photo: Uncredited promotional image]