Over the last few years Toronto-based Artoffact Records has been re-releasing some early Canadian punk and new wave albums. The label had a huge online sale a month or so ago and let’s just say I went a bit nuts – the prices were so low and I had just the right amount of wine in me that I couldn’t help myself. Twenty minutes and $160 later I had 27 (!) albums ordered, both on vinyl and CD. Oh, and that included shipping to the US. So you can see why I may have gone overboard.
One of the records I ordered was the 2016 re-release of Terminal Sunglasses’ 1985 Wrap Around Cool, which appears to have been their only full-length album. Surf-infused music, snarky lyrics, and ridiculous song titles (“Could That Be People Crossing My Lawn”, “My Cat Got Run Over By A Bus”, “The Coyote Finally Wins”…) come together in something that feels both ridiculous and poignant. The 80s were, after all, a strange time when Gen Xers were finally old enough to have started their own bands and able to express how sick and tired they were of listening to their parents and grandparents talk about how fantastic the Baby Boomers were. We weren’t a generation who rebelled against the previous one per se; we were more resigned to our fate in the Brave New World that we were now growing into. Yes, we complained and talked crap about it. But we also went to school like we were supposed to and got jobs because we had to pay the rent.
That’s what Wrap Around Cool feels like to me – humor on the surface but biting satire underneath, all of it covering a tamped-down layer of discontent. And I love it.