The Wonder Stuff
30 Goes Around the Sun
Words and Pictures by Phil Rose esq
I have always loved The Wonder Stuff and Ive never
sung the blues. Could I ever slate them? Id rather catch something
controversial and die.
Thirty years ago I lived in Manchester having just escaped
the rubble and shit of Swansea and I was looking for a way out of
the slightly restrictive purist world of punk rock. The Subhumans
and Crass were all well and good (very good) but I wanted more. I
had found the Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill and I knew that it
was good (very good) and so I could see that rap and hip hop were
a new arena of anger and attitude and that NWA could only be months
away. But when I wandered into a weird old record store where a lot
of outdated, spurned and unwanted albums could be bought at prices
starting at 50p and I heard the woman stocking shelves with The 8
Legged Groove Machine and sniggering at the title and the owner letting
her know that this was being touted as the best album of the eighties
(not a high bar as it turned out) I knew it was worth a try so I shelled
out a fairly high percentage of my giro on the thing and knew instantly
that I had found one small island of beauty in a sea of Rick Astley,
the Happy Mondays and Wham!
Not all of Canada is nice
What sets the Wonder Stuff apart from the drug addled or sparkly detritus
of the eighties is hard to pinpoint but, as with so many of my favourite
bands it lies as much or even more in the lyrics and the attitude
than it does in the catchy, bouncy, unique sound. While the Wonder
Stuff never went to the fuck you or even the You
Love Us extreme theres something lying there like a coiled
snake of self regard which is so necessary for a band to truly steal
their way into my heart.
A raven. Or maybe a crow.
And 30 Goes Around The Sun doesnt fail me in this (self) regard.
Its not an album that will be an instant, solid, number one
hit as The Eight Legged Groove Machine was or Generation Terrorists
or Never Mind The Bollocks or Songs About Fucking but after play four
of the album I knew it was here to stay.
Them bigger trees.
Its not perfect. Every track has the violin which, while clearly
a signature sound (Jesus Fucking Christ. Am I turning into a muso.
Signature Sound indeed. Shut up, Rose, you prick) I would
be happy with maybe 20% less of it. But thats perhaps the only
thing I can bitch about. Theres definitely less of a party going
on in 30 Goes Around The Sun than in earlier albums and theres
some sadness there too but theres a depth that is as welcome
as the shallowness I usually crave. Its 65% old style Wonder
Stuff and 37% new style Wonder Stuff. The extra 2% comes free, at
least with the download. These proportions are good enough for me.
So get this album or I will come round to your house and kick you.
Hard. Miles needs a pension and it is our duty to make sure he gets
it. He seems a lot more healthy than the likes of Lemmy and so we
owe it to him to make him comfortable in his old age.
A photo taken the year the Wonder Stuff formed.
These seemingly irrelevant photos are of a trip to Canada my wife
and I took and listened to this album on repeat until we loved it
wholeheartedly. Well, I did. Lola still thinks the violin is annoying
though she likes it over all. 30 Goes Around The Sun will always remind
me of Alberta and thats a good thing.
More predictable final image...
Phil Rose Esq