Monday, 5 July 2010

"These Streets Used to Look Big, This Town Used to Look Like a City" by @diaryofaledger

'Your mission drive is to open up my eyes to the wicked lies and all the shite you say....' ahhhh The Stuffies, briefly the darlings of indie pop before self combustion and an average fourth album caused a premature split and Miles Hunt to try his hand at being an MTV presenter.  Not the best decision in the world Miles, but never mind, your band left us this.

Previous album 'HUP' started it with the introduction of Malcolm Treece on the fiddle and by the time of 'Never Loved Elvis' he was a full member of the band and suddenly The Wonder Stuff went an made a truly great album.  It was relatively big commercial success too, largely off of 'Size of a Cow' and the charity single 'Dizzy' with Vic Reeves, although the latter wasn't on the album.

Listening back to it now it's pretty easy to see why it went down so well.  It's of its time (1991) made by my peer group for my peer group.  The indie kids lapped up the jangling guitars and those who liked a bit of folk rock plugged into it as well.  Miles Hunt never wrote songs as good as this, the words coming easily, syncing with with the tunes in a perfect swirling mass of happy/angry/sad.

Back in those days, when albums were albums, I would devour every song, only Biffy get that kind of attention from me these days and each one here is still so familiar.

Faves?  Naturally those scathing about religion almost top the list.  Predictable huh?  But I love the sentiment behind 'Mission Drive' and 'Donation'.  'Sleep Alone' is just a lovely tunes but it's the fun shit that works best for me on here, where the fiddle comes to the fore and The Stuffies create a wall of joyous noise.  'Inertia' is up there, great song, belting along with, um, inertia...

'Grotesque' is just classic The Wonder Stuff lyrically.  Girlfriend has left and nicked all his stuff, Miles always did like airing his grievances in song.  Funny, with tongue firmly in cheek but then, then comes brilliance.  'Here Comes Everyone' just soars.  Fuck knows what it's about, but its the closest that the Stuffies ever got to perfection, nearly 20 years later it still makes me smile, still makes the hairs on my arms tingle and makes me wanna dance.  No mean feet.
Live fast die young
Leave a good looking corpse
I'm only joking of course
'Caught in My Shadow' follows and is another one of those 'band at its peak' moments, another great Indie Disco tune about growing beyond home, in the case of The Wonder Stuff, Stourbridge in the West Midlands just outside of Birmingham.  It's a song that I was relating to heavily throughout my 20s having ditched the Isle of Wight for the lights of London.

'38 Line Poem' closes 'Never Loved Elvis', it's another song that utilises their new fiddler (sounds wrong, isn't) to full effect.

There's a passion for the music throughout the album.  A belief that shines through it that they lost by the next album 'Construction of the Modern Idiot', which sounds bereft of ideas compared to this.

Start with 'Never Loved Elvis' then work back.  The Stuffies soared at times, here they deliver on every track, not bogged down by clique or cliché, just making tunes, that for me at least, will always have a place in my heart.

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