4 May 2013
The Wonder Stuff - Oh No, It's... The Wonder Stuff
New albums by artists who have been away from the main spot light are usually viewed with disdain (rightly or wrongly, it is just the way it is). I don't know why this is, but it does make me sad when the press say stuff like "Here is the comeback..." - it is not that the band has came back, they have been doing stuff it is just that the mainstream has been busy worshipping at the feet of the latest Simon Cowell creation. The Wonder Stuff have been back for a while now and Miles Hunt has been gigging up and down the country with Erica Nockalls in tow, as well as doing WS gigs as well. But what would I know being a fan boy (yes it might be that sort of post). But as I have promised from the start I will be honest with myself and a band about what I think about releases. Now this is their first album of new material since 2006 - in the meantime they have re-recorded 'Hup' & 'Eight Legged Groove Machine' - so how will this release stand up against other releases and other project that the band members have been releasing.
For anyone wanting the band to make a carbon copy of 'Never Loved Elvis' or any of their other albums, you might be disappointed. This album does not try to recreate their past and I for one as so happy with that. As much as I love their earlier work, I also love the fact that they are moving forward and creating new music. The double disc release of this album has the original 11 track album, plus 10 other songs which comprise of the covers 'From The Midlands With Love' project covering songs by bands from the Midlands. Now I am very happy to report that both parts complement each other very well. I think the cover's are well played and whilst not being essential they are fun to hear. Their version of Duran Duran's "Planet Earth" is a perfect example of a cover done well, as is "Blackberry Way" originally by The Move. It has been noted by some fans that this project has made the band sound like a pub cover band, but I do not see that. They have just made covers of songs that they like and let it be heard by the world. It is fun and if you don't like it, there is a wall behind you which is more interested in what you have to say.
For the main album, it is quite possibly the best release I have heard from the 'Stuffies. I am not saying that to blow some up the band's collective backside, it is just a joy to listen to from beginning to end. "From The Midlands With Love" is a beautiful moment which I want to listen to again and again, "Hard Truths (Stay A While)" is a genuine stomp of a song which made this blogger want to dance whilst writing (not an easy task) and "Clear Through The Years" is proof that age has improved the band's song writing even more than I could hope. This album is proof that things can improve with age; there is no weak moment to this album, nothing that I would say needed improving or that needed to be tampered with or removed. I would gladly purchase both parts of this release as single albums, but I am just as happy that they are released as a collection together. Comeback my arse, it is as if they have never been away.
10 out of 10 - this is proof that there is a God
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