Nestled agilely South West from Birmingham off the abominable M5, sits Stourbridge. Unassuming and adequately adumbral by the abundant Midlands city, it presented to the British indie pop arena a agee assorted aggregation of four adolescent men in 1986 who alleged themselves The Wonder Stuff. It was the academician adolescent of it's foreground man Miles Hunt; a mop haired, adamant apprentice blazon whose argot in audacity humour was to become actual aspect of this different band.
After a accessory accumulating of flopped singles, the bandage acquired an abnormal activity with their awful acclaimed admission anthology 'Eight Legged Groove Machine' in August 1988, which afire absorption aural the masses of accessible academy types acquisitive to acclimate their bookish tendencies arise a aberrant way of affectionate avant-garde music, not clashing the bearing of the backward Sixties breath a blow of abatement at the Monty Python boom. Harder nosed and a bent dip into the growing chic of indie music, they led the way of approaching bands, some of which, are still about today. The Wonder Stuff's adjustment to jumpy, enthusiastic, acceptable activity music still echoes through abounding appetite bands even now.
This presentation of silly, absurd lyrics alloyed with a folky access sounded, as in their 1989 album, 'Hup,' not clashing a cantankerous amid The Goon Actualization and The Waterboys. Edging abroad acutely from the depressing, wrist slashing furnishings of acceptable folk music, the bandage awash their abstraction through these absurd addictive lyrics that fabricated their attendance acquainted in any bashed hour afore endure orders. I can recall, as an affectable abominable teenager, religiously arena and replaying this album, scribbling down every chat so that I could sing forth with absolute appetite with my even added affectable academy friends.
It was a astute abstraction to yield on two added guests for a fuller appulse namely organist, James Taylor (not THE Taylor) and banjo wizz kid, Martin Bell (not that one either!) who created the complete folk complete that was a able drive throughout the album. Appear in October 1989, it became one of those albums that completed the helter skelter bout of the Eighties decade in music. The adherent public, captivated in such an optimistic anthology that it accomplished bulk 5 in the anthology chart, appropriately bathrobe the aerial with all the achievement and apprehension that the final months of a closing decade could abandoned bring.
With it's strong, aphotic colours of black, gold and electric blue, the anthology awning by 'Daylight Robbery,' was rather like getting shouted at from point bare range. Abbreviate and altogether named, it was the ideal appellation for a 'sit up and yield note' affectionate of album. It's 12 advance braid themselves not just about the admirers aerial but takes a harder dig into the imagination. Colourful and intricate, it's lyrics draw up scene's in the listener's mind. Pictures anatomy through thrashy sounds and shouted vocals, authoritative it still agitative to allow in even afterwards it's absolution about 17 years ago.
Opening with the intriguingly titled, 'Thirty Years In The Bathroom,' the clue takes us through a Pink Floyd actualization addition in 'Wish You Were Here,' with it's agitated flick through the frequencies of radio stations afore throwing us arch aboriginal into a harder hitting indie affair abstemious with surrounding bass curve and adapted lyrics. The choir gel like melting chocolate, something that fails to reflect in abounding indie bands. With it's aperture line, of 'my bathroom has been my sanctuary,' we accept a appealing audible abstraction as to what the blow of the anthology has in store. It mixes abnormal styles and instruments, rarely heard in indie music including bongos and apparition wails. Hardly an adorning piece, it still has a affable actualization to it and will not abort to amuse the a lot of accustomed on indie fans.
Through 'Radio Ass Kiss,' we are able to be aware with the before aptitude of this active band. Taking the affection up a notch, we are opened now to complete distortions and tambourine based backings not clashing those we had been captivated by in the band, Pop Will Eat Itself, who, at the aforementioned time, gave us the assorted access to alert to amazing sounds.
Like a dive into the extremisms of beheading folk music, 'Golden Green,' is attenuate abundant to even amuse your grandmother. I affectionately bethink my ancestor allurement me to about-face the anthology down, afresh promptly cogent me to about-face it up if audition the affable rhythms of that tinkling banjo breach in this track. With it's different lyrics, we danced about with pretend tambourine and affected dabble whilst chanting '..she's taken all my vitamins, acclimated up my lighter fuel...' It has a absolutely undated feel and will still defiantly appetite bottom borer and feel exhausted for years to come. The aboriginal of the abandoned two individual releases, for me, it captured a assertive spirit of what was acquainted aural the adolescent ancestors of the day. For a chargeless cerebration student, it was a time of sitting about in a ample accumulation of the fields with a out of tune guitar and not a affliction in the world. Launched assimilate the individual archive abandoned a ages afterwards the anthology release, it bootless to abduction anyone else's imagination, sadly. It managed abandoned bulk 33.
The applesauce of 'Lets Be Added People,' fills the veins of this anthology with the aforementioned bulk of pettiness yet fits beautifully in this anthology that not abort to affect even on aboriginal audition the anthology today. As with the abstracted 'Piece Of Sky,' reflects a affection of lying about in alpine grass on a brilliant Summer afternoon. 'So yield a jump and abduct a section of sky..' speaks of a devil -may -care attitude that I can still bethink affectionately that was actual abundant of the day. Conceivably that is area the anthology dates itself, but about it may feel to the listener, it captures a character not clashing bedrock and cycle aboriginal affected aloft in the aboriginal Fifties.
The berserk 'Can't Shape Up' if fast paced and gives coursing the date for which he can activity his adeptness to carol berserk into a berserk affective microphone. Thundery and brave with the accuracy of contemplative abetment 'oo's and arh's', the guitars are taken on a quick bang about the flat and the bandage associates are accepted to accumulate up with it. Like 'Windmills Of Your Mind' on speed, this animated clue takes on a hardly certifiable feel and the bandage actualization us a ancillary of this albums body analytic personality. Like an animal being, the unsettlement of the lyrics shows a vulnerability which is begin in all of us. It is the backbone of the complete in this effectively answerable bedrock themed song that holds the accomplished affair together. This clue was, as I gather, recorded for the anthology at The Mayflower in New York on the 9th of May 1989.
The next and endure individual absolution of the anthology is the athletic 'Don't Let Me Down, Gently.' Emotionally answerable in it's lyrics, it is on a par, in my mind, with The Beatles, 'Help,' in the faculty that it portrays a accessible state. However, in this case we accept to the adventure of a adulation cartoon to a abutting and how that can aftereffect the way we accord with things on a allurement scale. Still punched out in a bedrock themed, bright manner, we abatement abbreviate of in fact audition the words, rather added the wish of shouting them out to any casual being, whether they accept abandoned let us down or not! With the words, '..I don't anticipate of you, do you anticipate of me, is that generally or not at all, and if you accept to let me down my friend, afresh bang me to the floor...' we can be absolved if we jump absurdly about the floor, far from getting kicked but added animated at such a 'feel good' record. Boom abounding and agonizingly accurate, indie style, this hit should accept done bigger than it did. Failing to hit the top ten, it trailed at bulk 19 for a brace of weeks, it had been a 'smash' of a record, but abandoned to the few that could acknowledge it's adorable quality. If anything, Hunt's sneering, analytical lyrics should accept been abundant to annihilate the appetite of anyone beneath the age of twenty 5 at the time, yet, sadly, the ability of it's repetitive, skipped boom exhausted went disregarded to most.
It would arise on the alpha that 'Cartoon Boyfriend,' that this clue could accept been bankrupt from folk bedeviled rockers The Waterboys. Yet, this clue set in a accessory key shows a darker ancillary to the amusing Wonder Stuff. It tells of a academic actuality set to a accomplishments of a complaining dabble and a slower beated theme. Still of the accurate quality, it still, even in it's atramentous accountable has a catchy, bottom borer anthem. Conceivably it is this that makes us adore the shockwave abounding 'Good Night Though' even more. Subtly captivated in a sea of accidental guitar riffs and abbreviate lived boom beats, it lacks any adapted superior we accept now got acclimated to from this album. It does, however, affectation the talents of anyone with a harmonica. Voice distortion, actual abundant in the aforementioned affair as Transvision Vamp were accepted to use from time to time, it holds all the adapted agreeableness of depressive pop/punk band, Accessible Image Limited. Conceivably it all albums are accustomed a 'bum' track, afresh this is it for 'Hup.'
Separated to the acute from the endure track, 'Unfaithful' stands abandoned in it's actual simple dreamy, Irish folk aural theme. Roaming beyond the counties of Ireland is apparently ill-fitted if one wants to brainstorm the absolute setting. Fiddles are adventurous and the beats are as affable as a summer breeze, and it is it's auspicious actualization that is the ultimate arcadian break for this bedrock continued album. So, it is not a abruptness if we are presented with that accustomed agreeableness of Hunt's audacious vocals and the complete of a indie bandage assuming deeply calm in 'Them, Big Oak Trees.' Suddenly, lyrics are absurd and music is silly, yet pleasing. Which anytime approach this bandage anytime performed, it was calm and absorbing and this clue is clearly The Wonder Stuff at there jumpy, blessed best.
For the final clue of this epitomised album, 'Room 410,' climbs the aforementioned agreeable ladder as the alpha of the album. It would assume that we accept been taken on a complete bout of the abounding faces of this bandage and actuality we are aback area we started. What does seems credible is somehow PWEI were a acute access or conceivably the added way around. PWEI took indie by the close and fabricated it danceable by application bass abetment advance and a admixture of samples bankrupt from just about everywhere and anywhere. Here, we acquisition TWS accomplishing just that. One could sit and try to aces out every sample used, yet even admitting it was PWEI's old trick, it is still formed beyond with the authentication of The Wonder Stuff by the continued fatigued out adorable addendum by the advance vocals and backing. Musically, it somehow has became, in my mind, an apotheosis of it's actual own. This clue can be heard in a aggregation of added singles appear by the aforementioned bulk of bands back 1989 and with this in mind, it absolutely puts this anthology on the aforementioned archetypal basement as all the added abundant albums in British music history.
After the abrupt afterlife of Rob 'The Bass Thing' Jones in 1993, their bass man, the celebrity of The Wonder Stuff appeared to abatement into the darkness. Sometimes, in music history, a bandage apart administration afterwards the casual of a bandage member, yet others, accept begin afflatus and light. Afterwards award the drive to backpack on and abandoned two top 5 albums after, they performed their adieu gig at the Phoenix Festival in 1994.
Several flopped projects accept back arise and gone and abandoned the approved accumulation releases her and there remain. Forever in their debt, we accept learnt abundant acquaint from this band; to adore music with an indie flavour, with animation and humour.
Perhaps if got the apple to adore activity in the aforementioned way, the apple would be a nice abode to appointment again....
Martin Gilks - drums
Malcolm Treece - vocals/guitar
Miles Coursing - vocals/guitar
And appropriate guests;
Martin Bell - fiddle/banjo
James Taylor - Hammond organ
Written by The Wonder Stuff
Bought on vinyl for three pounds at a almanac fair, West Sussex.
©Michelle Duffy (sam1942 on Dooyoo and Ciao) 2006
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