Friday, July 20, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 62 : The Wonder Stuff - Construction for the Modern Idiot

Album - Construction for the Modern Idiot
Artist - The Wonder Stuff
Key Players - Martin Gilks -drums/percussion, Paul Clifford - bass, Martin Bell - fiddle/accordion/mandolin/sitar/guitar/keyboards, Malcom (Malc) Treece -guitar/vocals, Miles Hunt - lead vocals/guitar
Produced By - Pat Collier

Release Date - October 1993

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- Just been meaning to do one on the band, and this just so happened to be the week.

Overview - This was the fourth studio album from the band and the final before their initial break up. The band had grown over the years and the fan base was getting larger and larger. Internal issues had the band break up right after a show they had done in front of 60,000 people.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- With a delayed wah wah guitar intro "Change Every Light Bulb" locks down with two slaps on the bass guitar. As the song grows a church sermon is delviered underneath. The song then comes together with the sound that fans of the band have grown to expect, and be acustomed to. The sound is full and the lead, as well as backing vocals, are strong. If there is one thing that can be said, the Wonder Stuff were never much of a political band, at least you'd think. The next track "I Wish Them All Dead" is a direct response to an organization of grown men that are involved with child sex abuse. (I won't even mention the name or anything as I don't need the hits to this page that badly thanks you freaks). The lyrics are delivered quickly and there is a lot of emotion towards the abusers. The song is pretty quick throughout and after a quick guitar solo Hunt sings "Go find relief in your graves, your are not lives I would save...." The less heavy "Cabin Fever" follows with a little more of a keyboard/piano lead. The band has a strong groove and most songs you can easily clap along to (if that is your thing). "Hot Love Now!" opens with some fiddle and differnet backbeat than the listener is used to. The guitars are just a light layer while the drums and bass hold things down. As the chorus arrives its a far more bouncy and happy track. The bass guitar bounce openes "Full Of Life (Happy Now)" which, according to the liner notes, is about a friend of the band that was drunk and sitting in the back of the bar. The guitar is higher up in the mix, and the blend of the acoustic and electric offer a nice balance. "Storm Drain" opens with heavier bass, drums and harmonica. The track is a little slower than what we have heard up to this point but it gets very "full" as it progresses. A swoopong bass and single keyboard note open "On The Ropes" . Strings come over the top before Hunt sings the first verse. Its a pretty subdued track, until right before the chorus when the drums hammer down. The full band comes in and chorus gets the full treatment of a very aggresive progression. "Your Big Assed Mother" is pretty close to on the ropes (barring a pretty funny title). Fading up with a single distorted guitar "Swell", does just that. It swells up and then takes off. The music is quick and the lyrics are given quickly as well. This is one of the stand out tracks on the album in my eyes. A single guitar intros "A Great Drinker" and then by the time the lyrics come there is a single bass part going along with it. There are 2 verses given like this then the band jumps on it. The guitar, drums and bass all crash down for a verse and its bookended with keyboard and organ riffs. A rousing chorus along with horns close out the track. What starts off, honestly, kinda "ehh" ends on a high note. The liner notes also mention this as a tribute to Charles Bukowski. "Hush" has a great sound in the intro. Nice guitar over bass and simple drum parts. Of all the tracks this seems to show off the vocal abilities of Hunt. He is able to go soft/loud to hushed to rushed. This is also the first and only track I can hear Bells sitar work on. "Sing The Absurd" is listed as the first song penned for this record. In listening again, this really should be an mp3 this week, but you'll have to track it down to behold its awesomeness. 12 string guitar and keyboards layer over the top. During some vocal parts is easy to invision rabid fans singing along. Its not rocking tune, but its not a mellow song either. If you dissect the lyrics is appears to be about drug addiction and growing up and getting out of it all. "Something For Sammy" closes out the record. Its not listed on early pressings of the cd in either the liner notes or back cover. Its employs some strings and bass guitar for the first few minutes. there is a quick vocal flurry then it ends.

Where are they now? - This kind of goes all over the map. The band orginally disbanded after a lot of internal turmoil in 1994. Miles Hunt released a few solo albums and toured as the Wonder Stuff for a bit as the only orginal member (the band was not too pleased). After what was supposed to be a one off show (that turned in to 5 sold out nights) things were looking good for a bit but in December 2003 Martin Bell and Martin Gilks left the band for musical and business reasons. In April of 2006 Gilkes was killed in a motorcycle accident.

The band are currently working on a new album with hopes of an early 2008 release.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - Was able to catch the band two times live. The first was September 21, 1991 at the now closed Club Babyhead in Providence. It was a sold out, sweat box of a show. I went with some mates that were not yet of age, but we shared Fosters "Oil Cans" and met some cute co-eds and just had a rockin and rolling time. The second was at the Paradise in Boston on February 23, 1994. What stands out the most for that night was the blizzard that almost cancelled the show. Still we made it in to the city and were rocked to the core, there were not a lot of people and we kept it locked to the radio to make sure the show was still on. A local station was doing interviews and the band said "we are here, we hope people can get her safely and we will play". It was terrific.

FDF Overall Take - The band disbanded at their peak it would appear, only to re-form and with that see all their records get the big 're-issue' treatment. Most alternative music listeners of the early 90's would recognize some of the bands tunes. They maybe were not groundbreaking but they could write some pretty darn catchy songs, and at the end of the day that is what gets you to come back. Personally I find the earlier albums a little stronger and more fun, but this is still pretty good.

Official Site
A supurb fan site
Miles Hunt on myspace

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

****mp3's have been removed as of Sept 6, 2007 3pm ET*****

Change Every Light bulb
Full of Life (Happy Now)
On the Ropes

The three tracks are taken from "Constuction for the Modern Idiot" which you can buy

Also check out this cover of
Closer to Fine Yep its the Indigo Girls tune.

And even more stuff.

The Wonder Stuff
Live in Manchester

This live show has been removed..

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


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