Pop Culture Gadabout
Saturday, September 06, 2008
      ( 9/06/2008 08:38:00 AM ) Bill S.  

"I'VE GOT BAGGAGE TO HAUL AND A CARD FOR THE PHONE." Of all the musical smarties and entertaining eccentrics to debut on the Stiff Records label, none blended youth and identifiable paranoia as well as Eric Goulden, a.k.a. Wreckless Eric. With his mewling whine of a voice, knack for crafting memorable pop-rock hooks and well-earned suspicious world-view, the young singer/songwriter may not have achieved hit status in the states - but his mournful "Whole Wide World" remains one of the classic Britpop tracks of the D.I.Y. Era.

Eric eventually parted ways with Stiff - not on the best of terms either - which makes this release on the recently revived label a minor miracle just on that basis alone. That Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby is the near-equal to anything this hard-partying Stiffmate created back in the seventies (other great lesser-knowns from that era: "Semaphore Signals," "Hit And Miss Judy" and "Take the Cash [K.A.S.H.]") can in part be attributed to his collaborator, new wife Amy Rigby. No small deal as a singer-songwriter herself (check out her '96 debut Diary of a Mod Housewife than follow on through the next five releases), the onetime New York rocker has an affinity for sweetly cynical girl pop. In terms of musical strategies, it's hard to imagine a more compatible couple.

The duo's first full-blown release together is a fairly low-key production - just husband & wife messin' around a studio in France. A lot of the tracks carry on the garagey sound both artists have mined so effectively in the past: lots of mid-tempo rockers pushed forward by suitably edgy guitar and proto-psychedelic keyboards. Rigby's "Astrovan" utilizes a bossa nova beat and spacey swooshes, while the harder rockin' "First Mate Rigby" takes a "Jump Into the Fire" styled bottom and layers a great shouting call-and-response on top of it. In amusing contrast, her "Men in Sandals" (a slam at open-toed footwear) sounds like something Christine Lavin might've concocted. Hubby Eric's "Another Drive-In Saturday" manages to check both Hunky Dory/Aladdin Sane Bowie and Mott the Hoople, while his collab track "Round" wittily follows the career of a one-hit wonder. His wonderfully titled "The Downside of Being A Fuck-up" takes us back to the lovable Wreck' we all know and empathize with, as does the slightly more subdued opener "Here Comes My Ship," with its lyrical reference to "everlasting" panic attacks.

WE&AR lags a mite in its middle - the duo taking the studio playfulness thing too far, layering radio chatter on top of Rigby's otherwise wonderful Jimmy Buffet tribute "A Taste of the Keys," than following it with a nattering instrumental sound collage reminiscent of Yaz's distracting "I Before E Except After C." But it quickly regains its pacing with one of the set's most explicit pop-rock treats, "Please Be Nice to Her," about a girl "who's not as switched-on as she looks." The disc concludes with its one cover, a duet of Johnny Cash's "I Still Miss Someone" that sounds like it could've come out of the '60's Vanguard Era. Makes you think that - with enough attention from their respective cult fan bases - these two could be a more egalitarian Richard & Mimi Farina. Not a bad career track to take . . .
# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

On Sale Now!
Measure by Measure:

A Romantic Romp with the Fat and Fabulous
By Rebecca Fox & William Sherman

(Available through Amazon)

Measure by Measure Web Page

Ask for These Fine Cultural Blogs & Journals by Name!

aaronneathery.com News
Aaron Neathery

American Sideshow Blow-Off
Marc Hartzman

Arf Lovers
Craig Yoe

Sean T. Collins

Barbers Blog
Wilson Barbers

The Bastard Machine
Tim Goodman

The Beat
Heidi MacDonald

Kevin Church

Big Fat Blog
Paul McAleer

Big Mouth Types Again
Evan Dorkin

Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Blog This, Pal!
Gordon Dymowski

Rod Lott

Cartoon Brew
Amid Amidi & Jerry Beck

Cartoon Web Log!
Daryl Cagle

Clea's Cave
Juana Moore-Overmyer

Collected Editions

The Comics Curmudgeon
Josh Fruhlinger

The Comics Reporter
Tom Spurgeon

Christopher Butcher

Comics Waiting Room
Marc Mason

Comics Worth Reading
Johanna Draper Carlson

a dragon dancing with the Buddha
Ben Varkentine


Electromatic Radio
Matt Appleyard Aaron Neathery


Eye of the Goof
Mr. Bali Hai

Fred Sez
Fred Hembeck

Greenbriar Picture Shows
John McElwee

The Groovy Age of Horror
Curt Purcell

The Hooded Utilitarian
Noah Berlatsky

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Daniel Frank

The Horn Section

The House Next Door
Matt Zoller Seitz

Howling Curmudgeons
Greg Morrow & Friends

The Hurting
Tim O'Neil

I Am A Child of Television
Brent McKee

I Am NOT the Beastmaster
Marc Singer

In Sequence
Teresa Ortega

Innocent Bystander
Gary Sassaman

Irresponsible Pictures

Jog - The Blog
Joe McCulloch

The Johnny Bacardi Show
David Allen Jones

Dirk Deppey

King's Chronicles
Paul Dini

Let's You And Him Fight
One of the Jones Boys

Mah Two Cents
Tony Collett


Michael's Movie Palace

Nat's TV
Nat Gertler

Ned Sonntag


News from ME
Mark Evanier

No Rock&Roll Fun
Simon B

Omega Channel
Matt Bradshaw

Pen-Elayne on the Web
Elayne Riggs

Peter David

Dorian White

Progressive Ruin
Mike Sterling

Punk Rock Graffiti
Cindy Johnson & Autumn Meredith

Revoltin' Developments
Ken Cuperus

Marc Bernardin

Matt Hinrichs

Self-Styled Siren

Spatula Forum
Nik Dirga

Tales from the Longbox
Chris Mosby


The Third Banana
Aaron Neathery & Friends

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Toner Mishap
B2 et al

Trusty Plinko Stick
Bill Doughty

TV Barn
Aaron Barnhart et al

Unqualified Offerings
Jim Henley

Various And Sundry
Augie De Blieck

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas

When Fangirls Attack
Kalinara & Ragnell

X-Ray Spex
Will Pfeifer

Yet Another Comics Blog
Dave Carter

A Brief Political Disclaimer:

If this blog does not discuss a specific political issue or event, it is not because this writer finds said event politically inconvenient to acknowledge - it's simply because he's scatterbrained and irresponsible.

My Token List of Poli-Blogs:

Roy Edroso


Jane Hamsher

James Wolcott

Lance Mannion

The Moderate Voice
Joe Gandelman


Amanda Marcotte & Friends

The Sideshow
Avedon Carol

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo

Talking Points Memo
Joshua Micah Marshall

This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow

Welcome to Shakesville
Melissa McEwan & Friends

Blogcritics: news and reviews
Site Feed

Powered by Blogger

    follow me on Twitter