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The Wonder Stuff
Escape From Rubbish Island
BMG Records

Come to think of it, I guess I've been wrong all these years. I had always thought that The Wonder Stuff was simply one of those great late 80's, early 90's college rock, jangling guitar bands from somewhere like Minneapolis. I had no idea that they were British, and that they were capable of things much better and far beyond the pop perfection of "Don't Let Me Down, Gently". Well, on their latest record, Escape From Rubbish Island, The Wonder Stuff finally and truly live up to their clever moniker, creating some of the finest Britpop to be heard in years. Don't believe me? Dig the crisp guitar tones and throaty synth growl of "Escape From Rubbish Island" or the Beatles-ish melody lines of "Bile Chant". Of course, this record is infused with attitude befitting a politically disenfranchised and unhappy rock band, many songs railing against the current systems of government to be found around the western world. Behind all of that bile, though, is enchanting and intoxicating pop music from across the pond. The lyrical irony of "Another Comic Tragedy" easily recalls the early days of The Wonder Stuff, with clean guitar rhythms, arpeggios ringing out chimingly, and the clever poetic wit for which the band has always been known. The later songs attain an anthemic quality, bringing to mind the powerful, charged rock of Fury In The Slaughterhouse. "You Don't Know Who…" is reason enough to purchase this record. The song screams out with a power and ferocity lacking in most modern rock music, yet relying on beautifully sung and quietly played instruments to convey that desperation. You'll find no screaming vocal lines here, folks - only truly breathtaking rock music from the heart of a band that has consistently turned out brilliant songs over the years… If only I'd known they were British, maybe I would have paid closer attention long ago.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. Escape From Rubbish Island
2. Bile Chant
3. Better Get Ready For A Fist Fight
4. Another Comic Tragedy
5. Was I Meant To Be Sorry?
6. Head Count
7. You Don't Know Who…
8. Back To Work
9. One Step At A Time
10. Love's Ltd.

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