Wednesday Week: What We Had (1987)
Wednesday Week were a women-fronted band, L.A.-based with some connections to the Paisley Underground (Steven Wynn played with some of the members before he went off to found Dream Syndicate). With their mid-'80s college radio jangly-guitar sound and '60s-tinged pop roots, the comparisons to the Bangles are unavoidable, though alas they lacked the charismatic vocals and killer hooks that helped the Bangles break through. (To be fair, some of this is due to the listless '80s production, which makes it all sound a little less punchy than it should.)
Yet while their debut album (they released a second album in 1990 before breaking up, but I haven't heard it) rarely rises above the merely enjoyable, a few songs are pretty catchy. Opening track "Why" has an infectious guitar hook, channeling the track of the same name by the Byrds through Paisley power pop with some nice harmonies. "Sometimes," "All That Again," and "Suicide" have a perky, energetic edge; "Feel So Small" captures a nice late '60s sunshine vibe. And the rest, if a bit non-distinct, is all perfectly fine.
The CD re-release I have doubles the length of the album with various extras, many of which are as good as the album (including a 1983 EP which is a bit more lo-fi but a lot of fun); the extended version closes with "No Going Back," from the second album, and it's pretty damn great, a little fuller-sounding than the debut LP.
Here's the video for "Why":