30 September 2017

Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls - We Came Here to Work

For a lot of people, if you say the name Miles Hunt they will automatically sing to you either "Size of a Cow" or "Dizzy".  But as good as those songs are, the man is much more than that.  He was in Vent 414, he is a successful solo artist and the Wonder Stuff have created (in my own opinion) better songs than those two.  The same goes for Erica Nockalls, she is much more than Ms Hunt.  She is a solo artist in her own right with two solo albums to her name, an in-demand session musician, a fantastic artist and they has been releasing records as a duo for a long time.  This is their first record as a duo since Live 2010/11, so you could say this is a much-anticipated release.  After the 2016 release for The Wonder Stuff 30 Goes Around the Sun (our review cleverly linked here), the thought of another album from these two has been one which I have pondered (hoped for as well), so once they announced that We Came Here to Work was going to be released, I knew I was going to review it.  My copy of the album arrived on my doorstep last week and I have been listening to this for a few days, just as I was so excited and I wanted to absord each track!  So, before I go full fanboy, how does it stand up?

01 - When the Currency Was Youth

A song about trying to remember why things happened in the past, trying to figure out who people are and how memories of the past can return to the present.  As noted in the information about "When the Currency Was Youth" in the sleeve of the album, it is about the emotions that came back when Miles was writing his Tour Diaries for the books he has just released, about how those words brought the past back to life. This reflective track is filled with nostalgia, but it is not rose-tinted or full of regret.  It is a great number, one which grows with each spin of the record and it is becoming a favourite at my house.

02 - A Matter of Circumstance

A song about a friendship that became frivolous after a request to supply music for an animation project,  created in the style of Joni Mitchell.  This was one of the first on the album which sunk its hooks in immediately, due to the warmth that comes from this song.  The rhythm of the guitar is so catchy that it should come with a health warning!  You can hear sunshine in the music, I have no idea why.  But each time it has come on, no matter the weather, the world becomes lighter and even when it is cloudy the sun tries to break through the grey.

03 - Waste Some Time with Me

A song about the joy that can come with meeting up with friends, making the dark times seem a little less heavy and how a trouble shared is a trouble halved.  It is a gentle song with an honest heart, it is good intensions made flesh and there is a feeling of good will and friendship.  It is a song that heals sore wounds and it is beautifully played, what is there not to love?

04 - Witnesses

I love a song that starts somewhere and ends up in a totally different place, songs like this are journeys that you can follow in your mind and they are also open to interpretation as well.  "Witnesses" is such a song, a song that has a little bit of anger in it, but there is also determination mixed in as well.  It is a good number, one that is very though provoking and well played as well.

05 - The Good in The World

A song that is dedicated to friends and uncomplicated as well, "The Good in The World" is a piece of music that is wonderfully crafted, as open as the sky and one that gets you thinking.  I keep associating the word simplistic with this song, but that is not the right word as it comes with harsh undertones these days.  But it is a basic, simple song that can open emotions and questions on a large scale, it is one of the best on this record and one of the best that Miles and Erica have released together.  Hence why simplistic is both the right and wrong word here......

06 - We Came Here to Work

"We Came Here to Work" is about people who are trying to escape war, disease and how people are treating them like criminals, about how the world is a bit fucked up at the moment.  It is a powerful statement, it is a brilliant piece of art, one which I wholeheartedly agree with and I applaud Miles and Erica on this one.  If you don't agree with this, you can fuck off.

07 - If I Were You

Looking at the past can be a difficult thing, especially when it comes relationships and those which might have ended badly.  There is a bit of blame on this song, there is still hurt in the words and its sombre nature gives it an uncomfortable edge. 

08 - The Absentee

A song about Miles being a shy teenager, about how it affected him growing up and how it is still there in the background.  It is an honest song which does not pull any punches, it makes no effort to show things in a glamorous light and it shows the past for what it was.  A wild time that had to end, but it was something that helped him grow up as well.  I can hear the passion in this one, mixed with a fragile leaning as the shy boy is still in there.  It is a song that I love and identify with as well, it is well played and I think it will sound beautiful on their current UK tour.

09 - Reassurance

We have reached the penultimate track of the album with "Reassurance", a song about that seems to be able being knocked down and how to get back up again, how a person can be admired for their commitment to their goals.  It is another song that does not have too much going on, but it is one that gets you thinking about people who fit this description within the song.  A song that can achieve that sort of response is one to admire, it is one that grows overtime and that is something special indeed.

10 - The Sweetest of Bitterest Ends

The title of this track alone just begs to end an album!  You could not open an album with this song, it would feel out of place and it is naturally build for the last track on an album or a show.  It is also a song about getting the last word, having your say and making a point.  Because of this, it feels like you are missing part of the argument and it makes me curious as to what created the circumstances for this song to be written.  But that is beside the point to be honest, at the end of the day it is a great song that is passionate to a fault and ends the album with an intriguing note.

The thing I like about this album is that it does not feel like off-cuts, it does not feel of songs that would have been better placed on a Stuffies album.  These songs have been created by two talented musicians and released in their best format and that is something that a few bands fail to do.  I love the passion behind the songs, the natural nature of the music, the packaging of the CD (thank you for signing to Miles & Erica, that was a lovely touch for people who ordered it) and it is an album that grown before you with each listen.  It is going to be played a lot in my house over the autumnal months, it seems to fit this time of year perfectly.  If you are looking for a new acoustic album, this is the one I would recommend to you, you will not be disappointed.

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart

Top track - Waste Some Time with Me

You can purchase We Came Here to Work from the Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls Big Cartel page here.

You can purchase We Came Here to Work from Amazon here.

You can follow all the news of Miles Hunt, Erica Nockalls and The Wonder Stuff on the Wonder Stuff website here.

You can follow all the news of Miles Hunt, Erica Nockalls and The Wonder Stuff on Facebook here.

At the time of writing, We Came Here to Work is not available on streaming sites, but you really want to purchase it any way. ;-) - Eddie

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