Starting off laboring in the long shadow of New Order, Scottish band the Wake managed to carve out a nice niche for themselves by always evolving but remaining true to their core sound. Their time on Factory yielded some very good post-punk and synth pop singles and albums, most notably the wonderful "O Pamela" and "Talk About the Past," which beat New Order at their own game. From there, they moved to Sarah Records for a string of solid singles and albums that showcased their simplified songcraft and spiky lyrics. After shutting down in 1995 when Sarah did, they hooked up with Bobby Wratten of the Field Mice to form the Occasional Keepers before returning under the Wake name in 2009 to play some shows; they then released an unsurprisingly strong new album in 2012. Testament (Best Of) spans their career, picking their best tracks from each era and even dishing out a late-period unreleased gem ("Clouds Disco"). The selection is heavy on the Factory years, since that's the period they're best known for, with a nice mix of singles and albums tracks. A rare 7" edit of "Gruesome Castle" is a nice treat that almost makes up for the lack of Sarah material. Best to just break down and buy the reissues of the two albums they made for them. In fact, once fans of post-punk and indie pop who don't already have all the Wake's output hear this collection, they'll likely think real hard about tracking down all their reissues. Until then, this will do fine.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra