Monday, 23 April 2012

LISTEN TO: The Wonder Stuff - Blackberry Way/Save It For Later

The Wonder Stuff have released their first single in three years on April 21st, Record Store Day. The release launched the band’s ‘From The Midlands With Love’ project, a series of double A-side 7” inch vinyl singles, featuring cover versions of a few of the band’s favourite Midlands-produced music.

This first release comprises of The Wonder Stuff’s own versions of The Move’s ‘Blackberry Way’ and The Beat’s ‘Save It For Later’.

Throughout the history of British pop, there has often been a temptation to find a convenient umbrella for music emerging from the same regional locale, be it Merseybeat in the ‘60s, the Postcard Records-inspired Glasgow scene of the ‘80s, the industrial electronica of Sheffield, or moving further forward in time the coterie of bands that came to define “Madchester”.

Smack dab in the middle (quite literally) is the Midlands; a sprawl of towns and cities that have contributed just as much to the rich heritage of British music, but it’s always been more tricky to squeeze all the movers and shakers into one tidy pigeonhole. Sounds and ideas twist and entwine like the busy roads that make up Spaghetti Junction – daunting at first, perhaps, but with a seasoned guide and a savvy sat-nav it can be one hell of a ride.

Few people understand this as much as Miles Hunt, a second-generation Midlands hit-maker (his uncle Bill was a member of Wizzard), who, ably assisted by his group The Wonder Stuff, is determined to celebrated the great music lovingly fashioned on his geographical doorstep.

Hence, the fine records coming your way under the banner ‘From The Midlands With Love’, great tracks of yesteryear respectfully re-upholstered for the 21st Century. On paper, it will look like a disparate bunch of tunes, but they share an indefinable attitude, humour, personality and clout.

It’s the sound of The Wonder Stuff acknowledging the influences and inspirations of their formative years, and doffing a cap to their roots – the songs of ‘From The Midlands With Love’ will appear on a series 7-inch vinyl singles, just like the Stuffies’ own music did.

By way of explanation for the cover versions, front man Miles Hunt offered the following.  “Being a natural born son of the Midlands I sometimes can’t help but feel that, while not always but certainly often enough to grind my gears, the rich musical output of our area doesn't achieve the respect, nationally, that I feel it deserves. I have a theory that goes some way to explain why this might be, it has something to do with the self-deprecating sense of humour shared by many Midlands natives. Either way, we just thought we’d have a crack at bringing a little extra attention to some great songs.”

If you missed it on RSD2012, then you can download the single HERE.

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