This year Scottish band Wet Wet Wet will release their first studio album with new vocalist Kevin Simm, “The Journey”. Simm, who won The Voice UK in 2016, is the group’s new lead vocalist after frontman Marti Pellow left the group in 2017 to pursue his solo career. “The Journey” will be the group’s first studio album in 13 years.
To reassure the fans, who can no longer wait until the end of June when the new album will be released, Wet Wet Wet played a live-stream concert on Saturday night, straight from their hometown Glasgow, to foreshadow their tour; from July to November from Exeter (UK) to Newcastle Upon Tyne (UK again).
The band, named after a piece of lyrics from a Scritti Politti song, “Getting, having and holding,” in which the words “My face was wet wet with tears”, with a third law placed behind Wet Wet. Purely to be different from the trend at the time with double names like Duran Duran, Talk Talk. Whether it was the name or not, it did the group no harm, as since their inception in 1982, the men have sold more than 15 million albums and singles that have been on the UK charts for over 500 weeks.
With ‘Sweet Little Mystery’ the band was released a little late, but well, that’s part of a real concert in recent years. For the fans who have not had the opportunity to see the band live since 2017, it took a while to get used to the new face of the band. Kevin Simm, who looked a bit like the young Nick van Eede of the Cutting Crew, was definitely in the voice of Marti Pellow, although the voice of the latter sounds a lot clearer.
What was already clear with ‘Sweet surrender’ was that the ‘livestream’ of Wet Wet Wet was in fact a pre-recorded set that was broadcasted. And that actually made the lack of charm of live stream concerts a bit clear. It was that the concert was just out of sync, so it quickly stood out. But in fact that is also what a live stream actually is: You are watching a live recording, and whether it is live or not, it is about the music and the experience. And precisely that experience was missing with Wet Wet Wet.
Fair, with the aforementioned songs and hits such as ‘Wishing I was lucky’, ‘Goodnight Girl’ and ‘Angel Eyes’, the men managed to tickle the fans with a greatest hits performance. But that was all. No, musically there was nothing wrong, and Kevin was quickly embraced by the fans, but no matter how the musicians tried, it didn’t seem to be more than a recorded rehearsal.
Despite the lack of atmosphere, the stream was a success. Musically speaking, the men are at their best in 2021 and new frontman Kevin Simms has succeeded in something that Marti Pellow has really lost in the last 20 years; Kevin brings back the pop music in Wet Wet Wet, where the band had slipped a little too much for the old fans to the too sugary soul. With a horn section that could have been part of an old Level 42 horn section in terms of fun and the interplay between them and lead guitarist Graham Duffin, it started to look like a real performance at the end.
After a short thank you and of course the big hit ‘Love Is All Around’ the performance ended after just an hour of ‘gigging’. Again the masterly wind section, consisting of Jamie Anderson and Matt Holland, did set the mood by calling out the non-present audience to join in the swing. No, it wasn’t live, not spectacular, but musically it was just right. Wet Wet Wet gave the fans what they came for: A greatest hits performance, but that’s bascially it. And Kevin? Kevin made Marti completely forgotten. Which Marti? Exactly.