Let Cinco De Wavo, The Wavos’ new 5 song EP, acquaint you with a trio of original New Wave electronic rockers. These former band members of The Privates found moderate success in the late ’70s with songs like “You Got Me Breakin’ Apart” and the not-Ray Charles’ “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (The links go to video of The Privates’ appearances on The Uncle Floyd Show, the local New Jersey cult TV show now acknowledged as a predecessor of everything from The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson to Talk Soup.)
Later, The Wavos’ keyboards wizard, New Jersey-born Gordon Smith chose to cover “Lawnchairs” – originally by one of my obscure 80s faves Our Daughter’s Wedding – with his previous band Rubberlegs. “Lawnchairs” featured the Out-for-1980 lyric “She’s a boy that we like and he’s gonna go far.” Members of each of these bands were among the many contributors to a long period in American Pop music when Gay musicians producied large amounts of the sounds people were partying to on dance floors and listening to over airwaves. Gay musicians were a huge influence on the era, but it was loooong before Out Gay musicians were able to be matter of fact about who they are.
Cinco De Wavo is like an AV EPK – an audio visual electronic press kit – for this newly revived band of New Wave survivors, The Wavos. When they aren’t playing originals, they can be found performing their “ever-popular ’80s ‘new wave-o’ dance parties”. But the five originals on Cinco De Wavo reach back further, to their ’70s roots.
“(We’re Gonna Have A) Dance Party” assuredly starts the set. To party, you needn’t listen hard to catch every one of the lyrics sung at hyperspeed, in a pre-Rap style. But while you’re partying, your remaining synapses might recognize elements of it anyway. Whether you’re under the influence or not, you can pick out flavors, as you would in a smoothie, and can tell they’re blending the melodic simplicity and playfulness of The B-52s, the obscure Jersey band Blotto (best known for their summertime hit “I Wanna Be A Lifeguard”), and a turnaround that evokes Wild Cherry’s one-hit wonder “Play That Funky Music (White Boy)” and its turnaround “Lay down the boogie and play that funky music till you die”.
The rest of the set draws on a multitude of influences from their era, from the Reggae-cum-Talking Heads styled “Tourist” to the slow Dance-Rock ballad “If Just For A Moment” to “Building A New Dream”‘s Cars/Devo hybrid, to the best of all possible mindless happy endings, “It’s Your Birthday”.
The CD art on The Wavos’ Cinco De Wavo
The Wavos also lavished attention on impressive, top notch album graphics credited to the renowned George DuBose. They’re bright, eye-catching and clear. The yin yang image incorporated into the band name logo expands and mutates to effectively overtake the often-overlooked CD art.
The Wavos won’t exactly shift the ground under you, but they will get you moving. And at one song short of a six-pack, Cinco De Wavo delivers an unexpectedly fresh spin on well-worn grooves.
Cinco De Wavo officially comes out on July 5. You can order it and learn more at www.TheWavos.com.
Their next live gig is at the Colonial Tavern, Fredericksburg VA, on July 19.