Man I loved this band. The Wonder Stuff released a flurry of absurdly good singles (what seemed like every 6 weeks) throughout the first half of the 1990’s. It’s like they were singlehandedly keeping the home grown indie rock scene alive while Britpop and Shoegaze were getting themselves organised.
The Stuffies made many a vital EP and the odd decent album leading up to (the LP that would break them) Construction For The Modern Idiot. This time they had made a five star album, but it was a heavier angrier and more pessimistic affair than their breakthrough record Never Loved Elvis and all the songs they’d built their reputation on.
Every track on CFMI is as vital as the other in the playing order, in their tunefulness and in the range, from the cacophonous opener Change Every Lightbulb to the mournful closer Sing The Absurd.
This merry little pop group had grown up bitter and angry at the world.
Side one is a rollercoaster ride. Change Every Lightbulb burns into the venomous I Wish Them All Dead with the ferocity of a metal band. Then the whirly gig piano of Cabin Fever manages to keep the tempo up but only defuses the aggression slightly.
Cabin Fever still seethes with frustration it’s just not as intent on fisticuffs as its preceding track. ‘Kick out the windows, this place is like a hot house, cabin fever’s got me spinning like a lighthouse’, ‘There’s nowhere to go but where you know’, ‘Political candidates, spit kisses over babies, Hollywood’s still making heroes out of crazies’ and the whole time a sort of heavy country rock swirls around that piano line lead.
After Cabin Fever the momentum breaks and the violin led balladry of Hot Love Now slows things down a bit. As a headliner in a triptych of opening numbers Cabin Fever seals the deal very well. Great album, great song, great band. It’s good to have them back.