World Party


Way back, in the late 80s and early 90s, when I still had a finger on the pulse of the current music scene, I was really into a British pop band called World Party.

World Party is primarily Karl Wallinger, who got his start as a keyboardist for the Waterboys. He is a brilliant songwriter in the tradition of the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Bob Dylan. I can remember seeing the video for Private Revolution on Much Music in 1987 when I was in grade 10, and after I got a cd player for my birthday, the album of the same name was the first cd I purchased.

World Party was at it’s peak in 1990 when it released it’s second album, Goodbye Jumbo. In 1990 I turned 18, and moved to the coast to go to art school. That album was the soundtrack for that experience. in 1993 World Party released the third album, Bang. This was the year I met Julie, who I am now married to. For both of us,  Bang was the soundtrack for much of that first year of our relationship.

Julie was flipping through the straight a few months ago and saw that they were coming to Vancouver to play one night at Richard’s on Richards, a bar well suited for live acts, but not so much so that it isn’t still a little dingy and rough around the edges. We bought tickets before we knew we were moving to Victoria, and last Wednesday took the ferry over to catch the show.

I wasn’t sure how it was going to be. Much of what is great about the recordings is the production of the music – the arrangements and multi-track recordings of vocal harmonies are much of the strength of the music. Sometimes that doesn’t translate well live. You also had to wonder at the age of the music – it was popular nearly 20 years ago – how would it hold up now?

The answer was, exceedingly well. Every song was fantastic and really well delivered. It was a 7 piece band, and the harmonies were well sung. The sound setup was done well, and seeing this band that I had been listening to for nearly 20 years in such a small venue was a wonderful experience. It was great to be there with Julie – you know you’ve been with someone a long time when the music you used to listen to together is now in the oldies category.

I think even if you didn’t have the personal attachment to the band that I do, you still couldn’t help but to enjoy the music. If there is one album I would recommend, it is Goodbye Jumbo, and if there is one song, it is Put The Message In The Box. 

2 thoughts on “World Party

  1. “…Put the box into a car. Drive the car around the world.”

    Best lyric on all of the World Party albums I’ve owned.

    I come by World Party honestly: Through the Waterboys, by way of you, Mike.

    Almsot unbelievably, it was just this month that I realized Mike Scott’s song “World Party” was written after Wallinger left the band, and therefore should be understood as an angry missive.

    It only took me 16 years to put together the obvious.

    Anyhow, thanks for the Fisherman’s Blues album, and consequently, World Party.

  2. Our band (She Screams – check out for more) does a cover of the Waterboy’s Medicine Bow…great band…The Waterboys, that is – we suck.

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