(The Woodwork) Squeaks

Was (Not Was)

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(The Woodwork) Squeaks Review

by Andy Kellman

Put out by ZE a year after Was (Not Was) made the hop to Geffen for their second album, (The Woodwork) Squeaks is a six-track grab bag LP of cuts taken from numerous 7" and 12" singles, originally issued from 1980 to 1982. Upon release, cynics might've seen it is an opportunistic move on the part of ZE when, in truth, it was a necessary and helpful one. The worst aspect of the group's self-titled 1981 album was that it failed to include the nonsensical disco-funk of "Wheel Me Out," the group's creative apex. This takes care of that and throws in a couple all-important remixes. The most significant is a 12" version of "Tell Me That I'm Dreaming"; remixed by Detroit club legend Ken Collier, it's a perfectly utilitarian restructuring that sheds some of the original's excessive ornamentation while fashioning it into an insistent, bottom-heavy groove. An alternate look at "Hello Operator" tops the very different "short version," with the group at its grittiest and starkest. The other inclusions are redundant: "Out Come the Freaks" and "Where Did Your Heart Go?" (later covered by Wham!) were lifted from Was (Not Was), and "Dance or Die" was borrowed from Sweet Pea Atkinson's Don't Walk Away -- essentially a relatively straight-laced Was (Not Was) album with a focus on one of their frontmen. ZE's 2004 reissue of this release is drastically different and uses all of the extra space allowed by the compact disc format to compile more rarities.

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