"One of the most important things is to be original. It’s got to be outstanding, it can’t be a mimic of anything else," Falling Joys singer and guitarist Suzie Higgie told triple j's Richard Kingsmill in 1990.
With her sweet voice, her band’s jangly guitars, chunky bass grooves and girl/boy harmonies, the Canberra band was a standout in the burgeoning alternative music scene of the late-'80s and early-'90s.
But it could have been a very different sound and scenario than it turned out to be.
"When I first started the Falling Joys, I didn’t really want to be the singer," Higgie said. "I wanted to be the guitarist and do harmonies, but our singer and keyboard player left. I was writing the songs still, but I just didn’t want to be up there in the front. I used to hate playing live more than anything."
Higgie's clear midrange vocal often sounded even better in harmony with bassist Pat Hayes. Drummer Pete Velzen told Kingsmill that Hayes had more vocal chops than the rest of the band.
"Pat sings along to records in the car," he said. "Me and Stewie [Robertson, guitarist] are still finding our feet, but are fully aware and keen to do more of that and work on that aspect of the songs."
Their blend of voices came to distinguish the Falling Joys even more so after the unexpected success of their song ‘Lock It’.
The band intended it to be a long, lush, meandering track. Their American record label heard a different potential, however. They re-edited it so the chorus came in sooner.
"They did the right thing and they played it to us first," Velzen said. "They said 'if you like this and you want to change it, please do. But this is how we think the best way for it to work is.'
"Effectively they turned it from what we thought was an album track into a single."
There’s a sense of urgency and drama in this collection of pop melodies and in Higgie’s voice. Her evocative lyrics chart a time of change and upheaval in ‘Shot In Europe’ and ‘Lost Addiction’, and shallow musical associations in ‘Puppy Drink’.
Wish List had a long lead up time to being made. With so much stored energy poured into it, evaluating the final product was a difficult task.
In that 1990 interview, Higgie wondered where her band’s debut would fit in a future music landscape. On the evidence of the reunion shows the band has continued to play since 2011, this album and this band have a permanent place very firmly in the hearts of many music fans.