Wingmen have been playing Istanbul’s stages for over a decade now, diligently dealing out their own special brand of celtic indie rock on the most receptive stages. Legendary shows at (the now sadly defunct) Ghetto, Karga, and Pendor venues finally led to the Rock n’ Coke festival a couple of years ago, where the four-piece delivered their sardonically life-affirming alt-rock in the sweltering afternoon heat.
Turkish drummer Erdem Eroglu (steady, powerful), Isle-of-Wightian bassist Aaron Abrook (newly of child, co-songwriter, man mountain, and proud denizen of the electric stand-up bass), Marat Zarigullin (Russian lead guitarist, ably filling the shoes of the departed original guitarist Nate Fackler) and frontman Rod McKee (Irish, generally be-bereted, sardonic master of a curvy lyric and an earwormy tune), genuinely unite to manipulate their Manics-meets-Editors styled indie into crowd sized shapes.
Last year’s Look At You album showcased their brand of Morrissey-esque lyricism with U2 rock action perfectly. Psyche masterpiece “Atonement” and observational diatribe “Pointy Shoes” are generally considered live and recorded standouts on a record that was as confident as it was compellingly re-playable. Live is their real territory though, where occasionally old classics like the undulating “Throwing Stones” and “The Medusa Club” rub shoulders belligerently with Zarigullin-penned new epic “Cicekci.”
Parenthood has brought a new dimension and maturity into their presence these days, beacons of integrity though as they are known to be on the Istanbul scene already. As song-writing sessions continue to lay the table for the next set of acerbically witty-yet catchy tracks, Wingmen continue to wow the sweaty masses at the intimate Pendor, in the centre of the city’s Beyoglu district, twice a month, and to play the occasional surprise big charity show at one of the more prestigious ‘event’ venues.
The ‘Bul (as the local expats call it) has a habit of chewing up and spitting out independent bands at a rate of knots, local or otherwise. Whether educating with their own works, or occasionally throwing in a James or Modest Mouse cover, it’s a testament to Wingmen’s endurance, stickability and tenacity that they are able to show how it should be done, year in and year out, held together by a finely tuned turn of phrase, and perfectly sculpted chord change.
By Sean Bw Parker