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Wireless - 1978 Positively Human, Relatively Sane

ARTIST: Wireless
ALBUM: Positively Human, Relatively Sane
LABEL: Anthem
SERIAL: ANR-1-1016
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 1994, Magada, MAGHCD-20 (2 on 1 named as 'The Anthem Years' along with 'No Static') * 2012, Rock Candy Records, CANDY136
SPONSOR: Rock Candy Records


LINEUP: Steve McMurray - guitars * Allan Marshall - lead vocals, bass * Mike Crawford - guitars * Marty Morin - lead vocals, drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Know You Know * 02 No Way Out * 03 Goodnight Ladies * 04 Right To Beg * 05 What You Make It * 06 The Hard Way * 07 Sign Right Here * 08 The Rut * 09 461 Markham

With the other two Wireless albums already reviewed, it's high time we look at the last remaining album in their three-part catalogue. It's their second effort from 1978, the cleverly titled 'Positively Human Relatively Sane'. I'm not sure this outfit were completely looney tunes, but it was a good image nonetheless, though not as extreme as Iggy Pop.. another musical ally also seen in a straight jacket around about the same time. Having bailed from major-label Atlantic, the Wireless lads decided to move on to the Anthem label, which was in fact owned by their production company SRO Productions. Joining forces with fellow Canucks Rush and to a lesser degree Max Webster, Wireless had severed ties with lead singer Mike Lalonde and drummer Glenn Beatson, the latter to be replaced by former Goddo alumni Marty Morin. Lalonde's departure prompted bass player and co-writer Allan Marshall to move upfront and be the lead singer. Former Max Webster bassist Mike Tilka was bought in as a producer, and according to the Rock Candy reissue liner notes courtesy of our Dave Reynolds, it's clear that in hindsight Tilka did not have the experience to produce the band, the recordings not quite what Wireless were looking for, even if it was slightly heavier than the 1976 debut.

The Songs
A jangly guitar opening leads the way on 'I Know You Know', and its bright disposition makes for a positive start. 'No Way Out' touches on a rock/funk vibe and on this song you hear the album title coarsing through the lyrics. An urban soundscape precedes 'Goodnight Ladies', the twin guitars of McMurray and Crawford shining through in spots, the arrangement of the song and vocal delivery from Marshall vaguely similar to Thin Lizzy. The guitarwork roughs up for the impressive 'Right To Beg', again the duelling guitars are prominent as is the stickability of the chorus. Marty Morin handles lead vocals for the mildly funky and wacky 'What You Make It'. There's all sorts of things happening in the backdrop of this song, one minute it sounds like you are in pub, the next it sounds as if you're out on a farm! There is some impressive lead guitarwork from the two six-stringers on 'The Hard Way', this track would have to be one of my faves on the album as a result. 'Sign Right Here' is the sort of hard rock that was evident from many bands during this era, guitar oriented with vocal harmonies that owed a lot to bands like Queen and their ilk. 'The Rut' sees Wireless return to a jangly guitar style not unlike the Doobie Brothers or Atlanta Rhythm Section, the band do stretch a bit on the solos which hardens up the sound somewhat. '461 Markham' closes the album, a sort of pomp/pop excursion with some fiery guitarwork for good measure.

In Summary
Wireless headed out on the road, gigging with the likes of Rush, April Wine, and split their time between Canada and the U.S. Anthem unfortunately did not push the album as much as the band liked, and there was a stage where McMurray, Marshall, Crwaford and Morin were going to jack it all in due to their frustration with the lack of progress. However, they would hold that decision off until 1980 as Rush head honcho Geddy Lee persuaded them to continue on for their third and final album 'No Static'.

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#1 | tompa on July 22 2012 12:01:49
Great album. Not a simple straight heads-down hardrock album but an album with so many things going on in so many ways that your interest doesn't fade for a second. Hard rock it is, yes, but so tastefully executed and arranged with lots of twists and turns. Bought the vinyl in 1979 and the CD-R I made from it has been played A LOT over the years. Along with the 1994 debut this could be the best album from the mighty Rock Candy.
#2 | rkbluez on July 22 2012 13:08:18
Got to Agree this is the best album Rock Candy has done so far IMO...and 'No Static' is right up there as well. Loved this album ever since it came out in that I also did from vinyl and played many many times over the years...and because of all the different things going on Tommy mentioned I seem to never get sick of hearing it. The guitar harmonies are so cool and different as are the arrangements...this was a masterpiece of hard rock that was woefully ignored...and Rock Candy has finally given Wireless a second chance to be enjoyed and I'm very thankful to them for doing such a great job on such a great album.
#3 | super80boy on February 21 2015 17:27:47
Lots of great creativity to be found on this second release. Agree with tompa's comment above, this album has a high entertainment value with all the that's going on with every song.

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