1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2000
This very underated album has always entertained. Don't follow the path of the the over-Commercialised songslike welcome to the cheapseats and Size of a Cow. Please listen and spend some time listeningto songs like Inertia, and Mission drive. Miles Hunt can allways deliver a well clipped line following an education of the Jam, the Clash, and the odd Johnny Cash number. Don't play it down......Just play it!
on 30 December 2014
Great record. Love the celtic feel on it, that's why it's my favourite of their works. Size of a Cow and Welcome to the Cheap Seats get the most attention from the critics, but there's some other fine songs on there - the wistful, sad Sleep Alone and the introspective Caught In My Shadow are also standouts, where lyrically there's clearly a lot going on and a lot of soul-searching even when the music's strident, upbeat and catchy. Miles Hunt's a better songwriter than he's given credit for.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2000
This is a fantastic album, I think one of their best and I remember walking into my Saturday job very hungover with this playing religiously every time and didn't ever get bored playing it. The lyrics are clever and with the extra tracks, this is a must for anyone who even thinks they like the Wonderstuff. One of the few albums in the world where I love every single track, think about it yourself, how many of those exist-not many as there's normally one of two tracks which you skip....
19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2000
I'll admit it. I didn't even know The Wonder Stuff existed until September 1989, when some young girl I madly passionately loved brought a copy of some blue record called Hup into school. I fell in mad passionate love instead with the record instead. A far better choice. I don't know where she is now, but I'd like to thank her for changing my life for the better.
Over the next few years life with The Wonder Stuff was both sad and beautiful. Dog eared copies of Never Loved Elvis watched dispassionately as people of varying degrees of importance and cruelty wandered in and out of my life. When everything else had fallen apart I still had Mission Drive's mantra of "the wicked lies and all the shite you say" and Sleep Alone's heartbroken lullaby to keep me company. Life is not what we thought it was.
The summers were long, drinking in local pubs and drunk on miniscule amounts of this thing called cider whilst we all tried to kiss ugly girls and feel older than we actually were. A few years later we did it to feel younger than we actually were.
Of course, my first introduction to the beauty of Elvis, came when some kid in school had a dodgy copy of the demos run off by the band in the summer of 1990 and it became the mark of cool, to have a copy of this tinny, hissy cassette on your massive, chunky walkman. I got one, eventually.
And then, as they say, the word was out. The Size Of A Cow became top five, and The Wonder Stuff became the biggest, best loved secret there was. They didn't have fans, this band. They had friends. Everyone wanted to be in The Wonder Stuff. I swore Miles was keeping the seat warm for me until I felt ready to front the band again.
The local buzz just after the release of the album was enough for me - I'd waited a long time to see them in the flesh, and my chance came sooner than I thought. One night in a goth pub in a back alley it became clear they were shooting the video for Caught In My Shadow the next day in Birmingham city centre. I'm in there - falling off someone shoulders during the chorus and yelling the words out of time. That night, everyone wore old Stuffies shirts and went to the Hummingbird to relive our good fortune. We got drunk in a manner only the stupidly young can.
Bescot Stadium - about 5 minutes walk from where I'm living right now - was the highlight. It was the most exciting thing to ever happen in that godforsaken armpit of the world called Walsall. It cost me three weeks pocket money to do it, and all day being crushed by the faithful thousands, living off Ribena and sweets and drinking the torrential rain, but it was one of the best days and nights of my life. So far.
These days, I don't listen to the album much. It captures them at an absolute high point. Miles seemed to be almost enjoying this pop star lark, and the rest of the band seemed to be dragged along willingly onto a rollercoaster of high spirited youthful madness as the Johnny Public realised that we'd been force fed brainless crap for years, and now we wanted, no, needed a band with balls, wit, and haircuts.
I must have heard it every day for at least three years, and after the thousandth time I reckon I know it well enough now to instead live off a veritable mountain of bootleg CD's, records, and cassettes recorded on dodgy walkmans in halls across the world. Over the next few years, despite constantly flirting with bankruptcy and an excessive overdraft, I managed to see them all over Britain. Headlining massive sports halls, playing secret shows supporting various nobodies in dingy Uni bars, and splitting up in a blaze of glory at the Phoenix Festival. A string of hit singles followed, including the bizarre Number One in the shape of Dizzy. On more than one occasion I ended up walking home for hours and hours and hours after missing my last bus home, eating cold pizza in the rain, knowing it was worth it. I' d do it all again if I could. And come December I will.
But that's another story. And of course, like any good band does, they reformed just to see if they could still do it.
I can't wait until December 2000, when I get to see every gig of their reformation tour. It's not a chance to relive the past, but an opportunity to embrace the future. I still find myself running around the house playing air guitar and yelling the words at the top of my voice at the strangest times without a trace of embarrassment. I reckon that's the sign of a good record myself.
Mark Reed, 3-11-00.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2006
What a belting album this is. The songs are quite brilliant and with the exception of "False Start" each one could have been a hit single. At first experience, the songs are good solid efforts with a great mix of guitar riff and folk touches provided by accordians and violins, though not overpoweringly so. However, it is with repeated listening that real appreciation comes. The lyrics, so easy to overlook as your senses are barraged with musical brilliance, suddenly come to mean so much. Okay, maybe Miles Hunt isn't Bob Dylan or John Lennon but he could be Michael Stipe, Paul Weller or (almost) Morrisey.
Quite simply, there isn't a bad song on this album, although "Welcome to the Cheap Seats" despite being a well known song is in my view the weakest, but for power, fantastic melodies and great lyrics check out this terrific album.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2001
The Stuffies take to stadium-style rock as confidently as Jimmy Tarbuck. Thankfully, this is more satisfying and, despite the fact that much of the humour which made Hup! such a classic has gone, this is more than worth a listen. There are no arena-style 10-minute indulgences here (although Mission Drive and 38-Line Poem do aspire to that), just the usual Stuffies lovability, keeping things short when that is all that's required. But at times the Stuffies' angst gets tiring, especially on Grotesque and False Start. What's truly great about this album is Caught In My Shadow, the Stuffies at their best. And with the inclusion of the magic B-side Me, My Mom, My Dad & My Brother, there's at least two indispensable tracks on here. Don't get me wrong - there's little to complain about here, but in terms of other Stuffies' records, there's also little to get overly excited about.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2002
Famous for their infectious style of pop-rock The Stuffies change direction slightly with their third album. This is the first album with violinist Martin Bell permanently joining the by now 'ten legged groove machine', and his influences are there for all to see with a more folky sound. Not that it disguises Miles Hunts witty lyrics and the albums number of sing along anthems such as 'Size of a cow' and 'Welcome to the cheap seats'. This album may not be what you'd expect from The Wonderstuff, but it certainly surprises in all the right ways!! This album is a must for all Wonder Stuff fans, both old and new.