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Wipers - Silver Sail (1993)

After 1988's The Circle, most people figured Wipers had been put completely to rest by bandleader Greg Sage. Sage had released a solo album in 1991 and remained relatively quiet otherwise. Meanwhile, many bands from the Pacific Northwest, where Wipers was originally located, were exploding into superstardom with the grunge movement. One of those rather famous bands, Nirvana, had proclaimed Greg Sage as a huge influence on their work, resulting in a tribute album and newfound attention in Wipers. But rather than acknowledge his role in helping influence a music scene, Sage surprised everyone by releasing a new Wipers album that was completely introspective, mournful, moody and acoustic desert-blown art. Needless to say, Sage's reputation for constantly going against the grain was justified.

Silver Sail, released in 1993, was a surprise, especially considering most people thought of the Wipers as finished. Regardless, it was a very good surprise, offering some of Sage's best work to date. The first half of the album is brooding, heartwrenching and somber. It isn't until the seventh track, "Sign of the Times", that Sage finally lets things rev up a little and kicks it up a notch. Some of the material is highly reminiscient of his 1991 Sacrifice for Love solo release and all of the songs rely on his famous echoing, wandering guitar solos and distinct rhythm tracks. These songs are entirely catchy, even in their introspective, downtrodden anti-glory. On a whole, Silver Sail packs a wallop between the first six somber songs and the final group of upbeat and more thundering songs. This is a very good return for one of the more enigmatic figures in post-punk music and one ofthe absolute highlights in the Wipers' history.

Review by John Chedsey

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