This Wreckless Eric article was written by Adam Stevenson, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Hazel Webster
The late 1970s and the aftermath of Rock ‘n’ Roll paved the way to a lot of fantastic artists. The then new alternative rock scene stitched together the brass and grit of rock with the melodic choruses and hooks of great pop. It saw hit making singer-songwriters like Elvis Costello and Ian Dury saunter into the music scene. Mr. Wreckless at the time shared a label with some of these celebrated artists but never quite managed to replicate their success on the billboard charts. Many might see him in the category of a one-hit-wonder with ‘Whole Wide World’ his only big smash.
The British born, American living rocker’s new album comes in the form of a nostalgic autobiography – a mix of tales from his experiences plodding away in the music business and his every day views on life in the states as seen by an outsider.
The opening track ‘Several Shades Of Green’ is a lyrically contemptuous look-back at the harsh truths he faced during his younger years. Eric sets the tone for how he has seen his own life as a musician; “I was nearly someone back in the day. I was in the lower reaches of the hit parade. In between the pages of some stupid magazines, posing in a jacket that I wouldn’t be seen dead in or fit in today.” He spits it out with gusto and vigour against the raw, choking guitar strums and harshly prodded piano accompaniment. It feels as if he may have matured but his musical styling has remained faithful to an earlier version of himself.
‘White Bread’ has the bursting feel of Iggy Pop’s ‘Gimme Danger’ about it, sharp, coarse and a little unsettling but almost treading the line into the psychedelic vibes of Andwella’s Dream.
The highlight of the album comes in the form of ‘Property Shows’, a new age country ballad with hints of a Hawaiian nature, that overall feels so American-made it justifies the album covers’ tag of “Made in the USA using American parts and labour”. This sombre tune sees Eric’s nasally driven vocals surrounded by waves of organ music and lightly tapped high-hats – it’s a melancholic dream that makes you want to turn the lights out and slip it on to repeat.
They say that surviving in the music industry is a bit like the survival of a shark, you gotta keep on moving. Wreckless Eric must then be an exception to the rule, as almost four decades later he has released an album so steeped in late 70’s grime and bitterness that it feels like an old favourite.