Wrathchild: Stakk Attakk


Kerrang! Magazine June 13 1984

Written By Geoff Barton

“The surprise of the season- if not the century! Not only have “Worcestershire Glam wallies” Wrathchild come up with an excellent album; they’ve also made one of the records of ’84. Even though the year’s barely over, that statement is not in the least premature- because Shades’ brigade have pulled out all the stops and set made-up and mascara’d eyes firmly on stackheel (stakkheel?) studded success.

Make no mistake, this is no feeble, barely competent comedy LP; rather, strength, commitment and awesome ability spurt from it’s grooves like yoghurt from Rocky’s gob  during a lascivious live rendition of “Cock Rock Shock.”

Wrathchild have always been something of a “joke” band (see feature, pages 28 and 29) and I know how hard it must be for you to believe that they’ve some up with a good, never mind great album. What can I say to convince you, what can I say to persuade you that, yes, this is reality and not just a figment of my fevered imagination? I dunno, but I’ll do my best…

In the simplest terms “Stakk Attakk,” is a pure pop-metal delight. Producer Robin George has tarted up the band (if such a thing were possible!) by concocting a chintzy Chinnichap sound and adding wacky studio FX, inventive backing vocal arrangements, guitar synthesisers and the like. The band seem to have been inspired and motivated by George’s studio expertise; they grit their teeth and go for it on every one of the ten trax, singing and playing with astounding enthusiasm and maturity.

Singer Shades’ taunting, tongue-in-cheek vocals sneer excitedly above delightfully tinny-but-glossy ’70’s sounds, less “Ballroom Blitz” and more “Little Willy” (no Rocky, that’s not meant to be an anatomical insult!) with ample doses of Mud, “Love Gun” period Kiss and (yes!) even the Rollers thrown in for good measure.

“Trash Queen” has all of the above elements with the added bonus of some of the sleaziest lyrics in town: “There’s a lady out on the street/So hungry, looking for meat/For a price she’ll spread her legs/Concrete slab for a bed….”

“Too Wild To Tame,” separates the men from the Boyzz with it’s gloriously infectious chorus and immensely tacky guitar solo.

“Shokker,” is so startlingly superb I had to double check to make sure the names Simmons and Stanley weren’t mentioned in the composer’s credits.

Album closer and standout track “Wreckless,” hits hard with Di’Anno-esque squeals of “N-N-N-N-N-N-N-NO!” and killer sound effects, industrial steamhammerin’ during the chorus recalling the glories of Einsturzende Neubaten…really “Stakk Attakk” is an absolute must for the headphones.

I could go on, but looking back on what I’ve written I can’t help but feel that my best hasn’t been good enough, that the more I rave about this album the more unbelievable it becomes.

It’s a shame, but I can just see you know, holding this copy of Kerrang! in your grubby mitts, muttering; “Kiss meets Mud meets Sweet meets the Bay City Rollers? A Wrathchild rave review? Barton’s off his rocker!”

What more can I say other than- what else is new?