With all of the work I’ve been doing for AntennaFree.TV, Bullz-Eye, Popdose, the Onion A.V. Club, the Dissolve, TV Week in Vancouver, and – all too infrequently as of late – The Virginian-Pilot, I must admit that this site has gone without update for far too long, but as I give my umpteenth spin to the highly enjoyable new album from the Wonder Stuff, Oh No It’s… The Wonder Stuff, it occurs to me that giving this thing a little bit of promotion is as good a reason to bring News, Reviews and Interviews out of hibernation as any.
I’ll preface my promo by saying that you would not be totally out of touch if you believed that the Stuffies had been defunct since their 1993 album, Construction for the Modern Idiot, since, indeed, that was the last time they released a new record on a major label here in the States, which means that it’s also the last time they got anything resembling a decent publicity push.
The band did actually call it quits in ’94, with frontman Miles Hunt starting a new band (Vent 414), ending it not too much later, and then going solo for a bit, but in 2000 the Wonder Stuff reformed for several concert dates, resulting in a reissue of their back catalog, a B-sides collection (Love Bites & Bruises), a live album (Cursed With Insincerity), and a live DVD (Construction For The Modern Vidiot).
After that, the line-up shifted somewhat, with a few folks dropping out, a few new faces popping in, and a couple of new albums emerging: 2004’s Escape from Rubbish Island and 2006’s Suspended by Stars. The former was pretty good, the latter wasn’t too bad, but in the end, neither really grabbed you in quite the same way as the records that had preceded them.
It’s therefore a very pleasant surprise that Oh No It’s… The Wonder Stuff, the band’s first new album in the better part of a decade, is arguably the best they’ve come up with since those major-label glory days. What’s even more fun is that the double-disc version of the album also includes From the Midlands with Love, a bonus collection of 11 covers featuring the Stuffies’ interpretations of songs by Slade (“Far Far Away”), Duran Duran (“Planet Earth”), Dodgy (“In A Room”), the English Beat (“Save It For Later”), and the Primitives (“Crash”), among others.
You’ll have to decide for yourself if you want to risk picking up the disc, but I’ll just say that I went in somewhat tentatively, and I came out quite pleased, so whether you want to blame that on lowered expectations or not, the end result is that I’ve really been enjoying the record, so if you’ve ever been a Wonder Stuff fan, it seems like there’s a decent chance you might end up enjoying it, too. If you need a bit of help before taking the plunge, though, here are a few videos to help give you a feel for the material included within.