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From the rousing opening number, 'Tricks of the Trade', it's clear that this is more the result of a band pulling in the same direction again and sharing ideas as a unit but still with the unmistakeable Hunt hallmarks. The first half of the album barely hits a duff note; standout tracks in the form of the aforementioned opener, the first single 'Blah Blah La Di Dah', the punchy 'Say it Ain't So' and the gorgeous, reflective 'The Sun Goes Down on Manor Road' invoke thoughts of "Stuffies classics in the making". These tracks could be from any era really and are bound to feature in setlists for a while to come, sitting perfectly amongst the old favourites. Tricks of the Trade and Manor Road especially, are about as infectious as anything they have ever done. In a nutshell, it starts off sounding like a Wonder Stuff album should (it's mixed better than the last one too): lyrics and tunes up to scratch (Angelica Maybe is a minute or two too long perhaps, but patience folks - Miles has another story to tell), a fuller sound (helped by Erica Nockalls' excellent violin playing) and you find yourself asking if the second half of the album can get any better!
The answer, sadly, is no. Much of what is left isn't up to the standard of the first few tracks; even though they do improve with repeated listens, there isn't quite the musical exhileration and bite of the opening barrage of songs.Read more ›
This album itself is not perfect, it does tail off towards the end but there are plenty of "proper" Wonder Stuff tracks to get your teeth into (Tricks of the Trade, Blah Blah are immediate stand outs).
Overall, it's not quite up there with Hup, Never Loved Elvis or Groove Machine but it's a superb fourth place!
But it didn't take long for that feeling to be replaced by smiles, this album marks a return to form.
As others have said songs like 'Blah Blah...' 'Tricks of the Trade' and my 2 favourites 'We Hold Each Other Up' and 'Last Second of the Minute' are just classic Wonder Stuff songs.
If you've had any interest the the band before, buy this album.
I will say that the record is not up to the standard of classic TWS CDs. I've thought awhile, and what seems to be missing is the "joy of creation". The original lineup produced songs that sounded like the band was enjoying themselves (or at least enjoying playing). The musicianship is solid on all TWS records, but with the last two outings they don't seem to be having "fun".
Every band member has a huge muiscal talent. - There are No weak links here ! Read more