Is This Real?
|Is This Real?|
|Studio album by Wipers|
|Recorded||October 1979 at Recording Associates in Portland, Oregon|
|Label||Park Avenue (original)
Sub Pop (CD)
Jackpot (LP reissue)
In 2001, it was digitally remastered by Sage and reissued again on his own Zeno Records as part of a 3-CD set, with the track list altered so that the song "Alien Boy" appeared together with the other three tracks from the Alien Boy EP, after "Wait a Minute".
It was reissued on LP by Jackpot Records in 2006, remastered again from the original tapes that Sage provided to the label.
Release and reception
|Robert Christgau||B+ |
Initially wanting to put it out through his own Trap Records, Sage decided to release the album through Park Avenue Records, hoping that it would give them slightly wider distribution. Before it was released, Park Avenue insisted that the band re-record the album at a professional studio, as it was originally recorded at the band's rehearsal studio on a 4-track recorder. When finally released, the album was not promoted and received little attention, only developing a cult following in the band's hometown. In a contemporary review, music critic Robert Christgau gave the album a B+, writing "Three guys from Portland (Oregon, but it might just as well be Maine) who caught on to punk unfashionably late and for that reason sound like they're still discovering something. Which hardly makes them unique--there are similar bands in dozens if not hundreds of American cities, many of whom send me records. What distinguishes this one is Greg Sage's hard-edged vocals--detached but never silly, passionate but never overwrought--and economical one-hook construction".
The album (and the band's music in general) gained a slightly wider audience during the early 1990s when grunge band Nirvana covered the songs "Return of the Rat" and "D-7" on a Wipers tribute album and the group's Hormoaning EP. In 1993, Nirvana vocalist/guitarist Kurt Cobain listed Is This Real? at No. 46 in the top 50 albums he thought were most influential to Nirvana's sound in his Journals. BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel stated in a 1993 interview that it was one of his top 20 favorite albums.
Is This Real? later came to be regarded as a classic punk rock album of the 1980s. Stephen Howell of Allmusic, in his retrospective review, rated the album 4 out of 5 stars and stated that the production "leaves much to be desired with its tinny-sounding drums, but fortunately, the negatives don't outweigh the positives." He also said that Sage wrote "fairly simplistic songs with power chords, but each melody infects your brain like a fever" and noted that much of the album has a dark and ominous feel.
Apart from the aforementioned Nirvana cover, "Return of the Rat" was also covered by Bored! on their album Scuzz. The track "Mystery" was covered by numerous bands including Eagulls, JEFF the Brotherhood, Shellshag, Rose Melberg, and Meat Wave. "Up Front" was covered by Poison Idea and Corin Tucker, "Potential Suicide" by Napalm Beach, and "Wait A Minute" by My Vitriol.
All tracks written by Greg Sage.
|1.||"Return of the Rat"||2:37|
|4.||"Let's Go Away" (Listed as "Let's Go Let's Go Away" on the original release)||1:47|
|5.||"Is This Real?"||2:39|
|3.||"Don't Know What I Am"||2:56|
|4.||"Window Shop for Love"||2:59|
|5.||"Wait a Minute"||3:05|
- Greg Sage – producer
- Bob Stoutenberg – engineer, recording
- Mark Helm; Mike King – cover art
- Jay Elliot – sleeve art
- Howell, Stephen. Is This Real? at AllMusic. Retrieved 17 July 2005.
- Christgau, Robert (April 28, 1980). "Christgau's Consumer Guide: The Wipers: Is This Real?". The Village Voice. Retrieved 16 November 2011. Also posted at "The Wipers > Consumer Guide Reviews". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
- "Top 50 by Nirvana [MIXTAPE]". Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- Cross, Gaar, Gendron, Martens, Yarm (2013). Nirvana: The Complete Illustrated History. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-7603-4521-4.