Album - Hup
Artist – The Wonder Stuff
Key Players – Martin Gilks – drums.
James Taylor – organ. Martin Bell – fiddle, banjo. Rob Jones –
bass. Malcolm Treece – guitar, vocals. Miles Hunt – lead
Produced By – Pat Collier
Release Date – October 3. 1989
Overview - This is the second album
from the band. The band was formed in 1986 and originated out of
Stourbridge, West Midlands, United Kingdom. The alt rock band
blended acoustic guitars, banjo and fiddle for some rowdy fan sing
along anthems. The band would have a revolving door of members but
would continue to release records but break it off in 1994. In 1995
a Live album was released and the band would go off to solo
projects. By 2000 the band had re-formed and a one off show became a
series of sell out shows. The band continues to be largely Miles
Hunt's project and their most recent studio album came out in 2012.
This is the second time The Wonder
Stuff has gotten coverage on this blog, The first time was when we
looked at “Construction for the Modern Idiot” back in 2007. Read about it here
if you like
FDF Comments (aka the songs) – Twelve
tracks in just under 40 minutes is how this breaks down.
“30 Years In The Bathroom” opens
with sound effects and a TV Broadcast that run for close to a minute
before the band comes in. The guitars bass and drums slowly build as
Hunt begins to sing. The song has a mid tempo feel with Hunt pushing
things. Jones has a cool bass line and Treece and Hunt seem to play
off one another on the guitar. Gilks has some conga rolls as Treece
has a very brief solo and the song loops back and winds to a close.
In an homage to the radio business and payola you get
“Radio Ass Kiss”. Gilks snare has
a cool effect as he “rat-a-tats” the intro and the full band
comes right on. A more uptempo track than the opener the chorus, as
expected, is a great sing along. For the first time you hear more
from Taylor and Bell as “Golden Green” gets underway. The
country feeling track will have your toes tapping and Treece adds
great support on guitar and vocally. “Let's Be Other People”
is a track that I'd sum up as being the classic Wonder Stuff sound.
Great guitars, an equally pushing bass line with simple, but tight
drums. The build up to the chorus is where Wonder Stuff songs tend
to shine, this is no exception. Treece goes after the wah wah pedal
and is up to the task with Hunt vocally. A shining moment on the
record comes in the track "Piece of Sky"
. Just have a listen and
hear the harmonies and layer upon layer of instruments. "Can't Shape Up"
is another track that stands out with the wall of guitar
intro and heavy hits from Gilks. Buried a little in the mix are the
swooping bass riffs from Jones as Treece locks in to a progression.
Hunt seems to really push himself, but keep the range tight. Another
stand out track.
"Don't Let Me Down, Gently"
was released as a
single to radio in the US and its rollicking beat makes complete
sense it was chosen as a single. The bass and guitar play is solid
and Gilks really gets a work out on the drums. We slow down some
with the track “Cartoon Boyfriend”. For the first time you
really hear Bell on the fiddle as it seems to be a key component to
the track. When Hunt sings the verse the bass and acoustic guitars
reign supreme and the vocal harmonies are strong. The punchy bass
that comes with the keyboard intro on “Good Night Though” builds
to a frantic full band eruption. The vocals are quick and sung with
urgency as the track rolls. “Unfaithful” has a country feel to
it with the acoustic guitars and fiddle. The melody is nice and its
a cool “other” side of what the band can do. Where one comes up
with a title like “Them, Big Oak Trees” is a mystery, but it is
one heck of a catchy track. The bass on this track is only second to
the great vocal work with the band. The nice thing about the Wonder
Stuff is its never really a full on showcase for one instrument. You
get that whole “big” sound all the time. Closing out the record
is“Room 410” another track that uses
spoken samples as part of the intro on the song. The drums have a
particular snap to them, even the tom toms, and the guitars are busy
melding back and forth. A bit on the trippy side, but that is okay.
The Wonder Stuff want to keep you interested, and guessing.
Where are they now? - The band broke
up in 1994, but reformed in 2000 with Hunt being the lone member
still from this period. The last studio record from the band was in
2012 called “Oh No It's..The Wonder Stuff”. Jones left the band
in 1989 and moved to the United States. He passed away in 1993.
Gilks passed away in 2006 as the result of a motorcycle accident. I
don't have any information on Treece, Bell or Taylor, so please hit
up the comments!
FDF Overall Take/Was it worth Dusting
Off? - I spent a LOT of time with this record soon after it came out
as my friends and I dove it to this record. It was played a great
deal and the band I was in at the time would try to work up some of
the tunes. For me personally it brings back some very fond memories.
For the outsider, there are some very rocking tunes on here. Even
some of the bands today like the Avett Brothers for example probably
unknowingly dip in to the pool that the Wonder Stuff laid down with
the heavy acoustic guitars, fiddle and organ. A best of collection
for the new fan would have you excited for sure to go back to the
Links, find out more, follow em and
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Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly
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