A retrospective ‘best off’ taken from New Wavers infamous cassette series spanning the 90's. Essentially Top 40 hits with the lyrics changed to address all aspects of loserdom, Or Weird Al with an extremely pessimistic neo-Darwinian world view. In the New Waver world, everything comes down to survival of the fittest, a land in which the strongest and most dominant triumph and the rest are sidelined, ostracised, beaten up, and generally have miserable, pointless lives.
The members of New Waver met in the early 80s as young recruits to the Claims section of the Australian Taxation Office in Canberra. Over coffee and cards and in water-cooler conversations the teenagers discovered their shared passion: popular music. From there it was a short step to forming a band.
They bought and learned instruments, and by the end of their first year on the job were regularly getting up to play Smoke on the Water or American Pie at departmental social gatherings. In 1982 the new wave explosion that had revolutionized music internationally hit the Australian scene like a tsunami. Dangerous new bands like The Knack and Duran Duran were galvanizing local youth, and these fellows were not immune.
Cutting their hair fashionably above-the-collar and keeping their ties on after work, the Wavers’ enthusiasm for this new musical movement led them first to change their name (from "Claimfiler"), and then to adopt the keyboards and drum machines that were to shape their signature sound. By the end of the eighties the members of New Waver had been promoted as far as Acting Clerk Class Three, and the band had progressed from backyard barbecues to departmental formals and Christmas parties. They played hits made famous by their musical heroes, and fellow workers knew they were listening to one of their own.
1990 saw the release of the band’s first album Middle Class Man, which was soon followed up by a swag of vinyl and cassette releases. Increasing popularity brought a booming balance sheet, allowing the band to broaden their instrumental palette, employing computer technology, found sound, and even the Canberra Philharmonic Orchestra as backup on later recordings.
But all good things must come to an end, and inevitably marriage, increasing job responsibilities and the secondment in 1999 of their lead guitarist to the ATO’s Adelaide office found the band unable to devote the time and energy necessary to maintain the standards their colleagues had grown to expect. The first sign that New Waver were winding up came when they turned down a personal invitation from the Under-Secretary of Human Resources and Administration to play at the combined federal public service end of financial 2001 boat cruise, a gig no working band in the land would have handballed.
The New Waver dream was over. But now their music can live on, thanks to the Dual Plover and Spill labels, who have brought this retrospective collection to the compact disc format - so convenient to play while computing or commuting. We’re excited about this cd, and hope that listening to it distracts you from your tasks as much as it did us. File under “rock and roll”! (Dual Plover)