The Pointed Sticks

Waiting for the Real Thing

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Although Vancouver's scene in the late '70s and early '80s was dominated by first-wave hardcore acts like D.O.A. and the Subhumans, the West Coast city's breakout new wave act was the altogether poppier Pointed Sticks. Although they only managed one album, 1980s Perfect Youth (itself recently reissued by Joey Keithley's Sudden Death label), the quartet released a long string of singles for the pioneering U.K. indie Stiff Records, all of which are collected here along with outtakes and rarities. Waiting for the Real Thing is an exhilarating blast of organ-fueled power pop, the perfect triangulation point between the the Flamin' Groovies' tuneful British Invasion knockoffs, Squeeze's manic, lyrically quirky early phase, and the revved-up angularity of Barry Andrews-era XTC. Nearly every song is a winner, and even the few weaker efforts get by on giddy enthusiasm. Songs like "New Ways" and "Somebody's Mom" are exactly the kind of fresh, spirited pop that modern-day bands like Hot Hot Heat and the Killers never manage to drop the attitude long enough to achieve, and Waiting for the Real Thing is a textbook of how to write should-have-been new wave hits.

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