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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to Work and Stuff the detractors
Perhaps the two fingered salute the man on the cover (a Mr Miles Hunt) is giving us is a signal of the remaining members of the 'classic' Wonder Stuff line-up - something that has caused a debate to rage in the former 'official' website's message board; more likely it is a succinct 'f-off' to 'Rubbish Island' (dear old Blighty, no less) as per the title. For this album...
Published on 4 Oct. 2004 by chriscolverd

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It's not funny anymore
As a stuffie fan, it pains me greatly to write this: Insipid. Uninspired. Not the Wonder Stuff. Miles' singing over the years has always been top drawer but this album belongs in the bottom drawer hidden under a pile of old socks. The Wonder Stuff were great but this amalgam of musicians definitely give them a bad name. Don't even think about buying this dross.
Published on 15 Sept. 2005 by William De Worde


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to Work and Stuff the detractors, 4 Oct. 2004
This review is from: Escape From Rubbish Island (Audio CD)
Perhaps the two fingered salute the man on the cover (a Mr Miles Hunt) is giving us is a signal of the remaining members of the 'classic' Wonder Stuff line-up - something that has caused a debate to rage in the former 'official' website's message board; more likely it is a succinct 'f-off' to 'Rubbish Island' (dear old Blighty, no less) as per the title. For this album (argued - wrongly - by some to be merely a Hunt solo project tarted up under the Stuffies banner in a cynical ploy to boost sales, reeks of the singer's current major issue. That issue is his desire to leave these shores for a better life away from a country that has not just 'gone to the dogs' but been savagely chewed up out of all recognition. It's a relevant bugbear to have and thank the Lord that Hunt still has issues. It reeks good!
So, what of the actual content. Well, it's a concise 38 minutes and very much a 'back-to-basics' exercise in comparison to their last 2 of 3 albums, the last of which was as long ago as '93 before they split up and then came back (strictly for gigs only, until this year). Gone are the fiddles and mandolins (at least for now) and you could argue that it's '8 Legged Groove Machine' all grown up. With Hunt and trusty Malc Treece firmly to the fore and former Radical Dance Faction man Mark McCarthy on bass, it begins very well indeed and all is once again marvellous. The album's title track leads us in and we're back on familiar territory; a rollicking tune with Hunt's trademark ascerbic lyrics. Other standout tracks that will go down a storm live (and boy is it time we had something new to 'mosh' to!) are the first single 'Better Get Ready for a Fistfight' and 'Back to Work', as catchy as anything the band has ever recorded and with smart lyrics to boot. Elsewhere, the moody 'Another Comic Tragedy' and closer 'Love's Ltd' are just 2 tracks that deal with fading relationships, but do it well and don't outstay their welcome. Not all the songs appear to have a chorus, but when they do, then it IS a chorus! With bells on. Hunt has clearly rediscovered his knack for writing a good tune as well as lyric. It's only on the primative 'Head Count' where things get far too broody for anyone's good and the word 'filler' comes to mind.
All things considered, this is as worthy as anything Hunt and co have committed to disc and hopefully signals a permanent return to recording as well as playing live. They may not win many new fans but the old ones (and they're a sizeable and loyal bunch) should enjoy the majority of 'Rubbish Island'; there is much to smile about. As for getting back on Top of the Pops, two fingers indeed!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything changes in eleven years, and yet, some things stay the same, 29 Jun. 2007
By 
Mr. M. A. Reed (Argleton, GB) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Escape From Rubbish Island (Audio CD)
Finally stumbling off their on/off three year Glitter Band Indie Karaoke Christmas Tour, The Wonder Stuff return with "Escape From Rubbish Island", their first new album in over a decade, and a new lineup. Gone are the fiddles, the short trousers, and the joke pop songs : instead we see a new, grown-up version of The Wonder Stuff. But is it any good?

Overall yes. For some the new lineup (and the harder, more abrasive style) might not be reminiscent enough of the floppy-fringed, metal-monkey-machine-music, fraggle-pop, ten-legged-groove-machine (MTV, 1991) anthems of yore to satisfy. But it's not 1991 anymore, and it's still The Wonder Stuff. Just not quite the way you remember them. Everything evolves in time.

Imagine they'd never got fiddles, Vic Reeves comedy cover versions, and pith helmets and all that stuff. Imagine they'd carried on with the four-piece rock of their debut album : this is what they'd sound like now.

"Escape From Rubbish Island...." then is a return to the sort of punchy, crunchy, acid-tongued bile that characterised their original, and some would say best, lineup. The raw songwriting style dispenses with the jokes and the flourishes in favour of a brace of wittily furious, biting new songs. Some of the songs are slower, the arrangements more involved, more mature. But maturity is no bad thing.

Fiddle player Martin Bell and drummer Martin Gilks are absent : (according to some dark rumour they refused to record new material) but this record does not suffer from their absence. No band stays the same for twenty years, nor does a good band write the same type of songs for it's whole career. Things move on. People change. And the world changes around us.

A lot of The Stuffies trademarks are here : crunchy guitars, acid lyrics, bile in spades (one song is even called "Bile Chant", which probably won't trouble the top five in a hurry), and great songs. The problem is that people will probably lambast the band for ditching The Magic Formula of 1991 and trying something different. The same Magic Formula that sees them saying "I preferred their earlier stuff before Fiddly joined" yet also sees them distrustful of this new, fiddleless rock approach. Some people fear change. Some people are never satisfied. Go back to the past for the future is coming.

If The Wonder Stuff had been making albums in the past eleven years, the raw, uncluttered songwriting style, and the lineup changes would've gone unnoticed. And nobody complains when most bands evolve over time. (In fact, for The Cult and The Cure, lineup changes are practically mandatory).

The biggest change is in the production. Since the recording sees the blooding of a new lineup, the record lacks the cohesive sense of a full, vibrant band playing together. Recent live shows and radio sessions have rectified this, but on this recording the band sound - only slightly - tentative.

Controversy has raged as to wether this is "The Wonder Stuff" or not. And the simple fact is that it is : it's not the same band that you may be familiar with, some of the faces may have changed, but the songs and the attitude are still the same.

The tangible X-Factor that characterises The Wonder Stuff is still here. It's still The Wonder Stuff, alright. Just maybe not quite the way you remember them. But that was then, this is now. Right here, right now. There is no place I'd rather be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Actually probably a four star....., 11 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Escape From Rubbish Island (Audio CD)
Well what to say?

Always a massive Stuffies fan, it has taken me an age to finally pick this one up. Due to unknown reasons I kept leaving this and leaving my collection one album short. I think a sudden urge occured after revisiting 2006's suspended by stars and i one-clicked to buy this one.

I have given it 5 stars in a vain mathematical hope to get the overall review to 4*'s which is where in my opinion it sits.

EFRI nods back to the rockier sounds of Hup and the ELGM but as another reviewer puts it, simply grown up.

A great album with few fillers this can sit comfortably with the other five studio albums. Not the best, but certainly no disgrace as other reviewers stuck in the past seem to proclaim.

Miles has continued to put out quality music throughout his career. The class just smashes through with records solo albums 'Not an Exit' and 'Catching....'

The guy is talent - and this album will do nicely. Saw him and Erica in Liverpool just recently doing the acoustic solo stuff - highly recommended if you can catch them near you.

Buy this.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It's not funny anymore, 15 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Escape From Rubbish Island (Audio CD)
As a stuffie fan, it pains me greatly to write this: Insipid. Uninspired. Not the Wonder Stuff. Miles' singing over the years has always been top drawer but this album belongs in the bottom drawer hidden under a pile of old socks. The Wonder Stuff were great but this amalgam of musicians definitely give them a bad name. Don't even think about buying this dross.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much maligned, misunderstood maybe?, 21 Oct. 2005
This review is from: Escape From Rubbish Island (Audio CD)
Hhhhmmm, I like this album, and yes I am a long time stuffies fan. Okay it is a little different to their earlier stuff, but hell 10 years have passed. The title track stands out because of it's scathing lyrics, it's certainly something I can relate to. A number of the tracks here do miss the mark, head count is weak, was I meant to be sorry and better get ready for a fist fight are solid but unspectacular. However another comic tradgedy is a very likable track and back to work rocks. despite reminding me of a certain celine dion song, loves ltd is also a cracking tune.

It may be on of the weakest wonder stuff albums but its still better than average.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome return whatever the line up, 4 Oct. 2004
By 
Mr. Graham Colebeck "gcolebeck" (Bournemouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Escape From Rubbish Island (Audio CD)
After a few reformed years plying their trade as an entertaining nostalgia act, Miles Hunt, Malc Treece and some new faces are back with new material. There's been a lot said about the fall-out with original drummer Gilksy and fiddle player Martin Bell - but line-ups change and still produce good quality material, you only have to look at the Rolling Stones, the Byrds, The Beach Boys and many many more.
So what about this new album? Thankfully Miles has recovered energy that seemed to be missing in his solo material, which never really lived up to TWS quality (excepting Everything is Not Okay, Manna from Heaven and a handful of others). Sure the frenetic pace of the Eight Legged Groove Machine isn't there, but we're all getting older. Of course, the Hunt bile is still well and truly on display - the title track taking a broad swipe at the state of the nation, in fact much of this album is a walk into Grumpy Old Men territory via mid-life crises!
Not then the ideal place to start your Wonder Stuff explorations (the 8 Legged Groove Machine or Never Loved Elvis would be that), but a damn good return to form... who needs a fiddle these days anyway?
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fan-bloody-tastic....., 11 Oct. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Escape From Rubbish Island (Audio CD)
10 years after the most depressing day of my life (The Stuffies playing their final gig at The Phoenix Festival) along comes this little gem. Ive faithfully bought everything Mr Hunt has done from the Eight Legged Groove to The Miles Hunt Club via Vent 414 and without exception everything he does is amazing. This album is no exception. There may only be two of the original line up still here, and, I cant deny that you will miss Gilksy's phenomenal drumming, but it is still head and shoulders above any other pop pap that is being dished out elsewhere. 'You dont know who' is beautiful, 'Head Count' is haunting and 'better get ready for a fist fight' is a great first single. Two tracks let it down and they are 'Loves Ltd' and 'Another comic tradgedy' which dont quite hit the mark but those aside this is a mini masterpiece. Go buy. Enjoy. Miles Hunt we salute you (still)!
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bitter Fallen Idol, 29 Oct. 2004
By 
Bj Corbett "Corbett611" (Hertfordshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Escape From Rubbish Island (Audio CD)
To say that three stars is generous would be an understatement. Only the pain that I would feel in my heart stopped me from rating this as a two or even a one star album. I love the Wonder Stuff, this is not they. I have respect for much of Hunt's post Wonder Stuff work but this seems rushed in terms of song writing and production. Hunt's lyrics seem to be less touching and what the hell is some dude from Republica doing co-writing songs? Former drummer Gilks' amazing and rare style was as much a part of the Stuffies as anything and its certainly not found here. In their defence the songs sounded better live, but using the Wonder Stuff's name to sell Hunt's new solo album is as much of a sell Hunt always says he regrets. This album lacks energy, excitement and balls. Let the band die, and the legend live on.
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Escape? You'll Bloody Want To!, 2 Jan. 2005
By 
Mr. S. Broderick "brodders69" (Burnley, Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Escape From Rubbish Island (Audio CD)
What a travesty and a letdown this album is (I tried to give it '0' stars but it wouldn't let me)!
Purporting to be THE Wonder Stuff (in truth their are only two of the original line-up present, with one simply backing-up his mate), this is an appalling release that attempts to destroy the legend the band had created with a succession of marvellous albums in the 1990s!
Resembling a frightening hybrid of indie-pop and that nasty American whiny nu-metal stuff, 'Escape From Rubbish Island' is cringeworthy from start to finish, with Miles Hunt now a sad old man with nothing to say, as opposed to the angry young man who won our hearts all those years ago!
Even the Wonder Stuff website attempts to distance itself from this project, as it is nothing more than Miles Hunt trying to cash in on the bands name now that his views and music are no longer regarded as being relevant to anyone but himself!
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Esacpe From Rubbish Island, 7 Mar. 2006
This review is from: Escape From Rubbish Island (Audio CD)
I'm sorry to say that this album is poor to average at best. Whilst I'm unable to detract from the fact that Miles Hunt warrants his 'legend' status, it seems that his knack for effortless-sounding tongue-in-cheek, angst fuelled punk rock/folk has alluded him in this case. Whilst the original Wonderstuff (which this is not) never failed to disapoint and modernise throughout their 4 seminal albums and countless EP's, the two members responsible for this release will fail to excite the most devoted of fans. Whilst Mr Hunt can clearly write, sing and play half-decent music, I'm sorry to say that he will fall victim to his own legacy and past genius - what's more, Martin Bell (the fiddler/banjo player) is sorely missing. Rightly or wrongly I'll continue to buy Mile's releases, though more for nostalgia and sentiment as opposed to true musical affiliation. Come on Miles, get it sorted!
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