04 March, 2009

World Party

I promised you music and so far, haven't delivered much. So here's a review of World Party's second album, Goodbye Jumbo. I've always shied away from reviewing World Party simply because I love them far to much to have anything but the utmost praise for them. Which isn't to say I'm completely non-objective when it comes to artists I adore, but I still felt a little too close when it comes to World Party. As wordy as I am, I find it very hard to adequately describe the brilliance of Karl Wallinger's music. I would say he is simply incapable of making a bad record, but that isn't completely true. But the only exception to that rule is a bonus download called "Silly song," so you know what to expect, and it does exactly what it says. So it's rather hard to write about World Party without the gushing that you've just been subjected to.
But when I got a request from CD Universe to write a review of Goodbye Jumbo (I know these are automatically generated things - I am under no illusions that CD Universe are hot for my bod), I started to get some ideas for what I could say without coming across as the hopeless fanboy that I clearly am.

When first released in 1990, World Party's second album sounded like an instant classic and years since have proved it to be. Five years before Britpop made it fashionable again, Karl Wallinger made an album of beautifully crafted songs that lovingly quote his 60s influences but never descend into pastiche. Using the recording studio as his main instrument, he seemlessly arranges sounds that recall the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Prince but without ever trying to call attention to that fact. Instead, the music is instantly familiar and brand new at the same time. Goodbye Jumbo, and its follow-up Bang! should have made World Party as big as Oasis. But since Karl was always more interested in crafting the next record than punching photographers outside the Met Bar, it never quite happened that way. But now that their back-catalogue is being reissued and the new album Dumbing Up is out this week, we have a chance to rectify that injustice.

Orginally published at CD Universe.


  1. Bill, do you know what's going on with Karl at the moment re: the new album? I see he's playing a few festivals this summer, does this mean the album's finished, or delayed again?



  2. Hi Paul,

    The festivals are news to me. The only one I know of (which I've just found out about)is this one

    No word about an album release, but you know what Karl is like - he'll finish it when he finishes it and it will be brilliant when he does.

    You can keep up with most of the news at a few places,

    And please keep us posted about the festivals.

  3. Hi Bill. Well, I heard about the one you mention, and assumed there'd be more! I don't suppose there's much chance of them playing in Europe? I am a (lapsed) member on the forum at karlwallinger.net, but I couldn't find it so I went to Strawberry Fields forum - where I remembered that you were a member - and found your blog. I'll pop in to the forum now nd then to check. Cheers.