Wonder Stuff : Cursed With Insincerity

Live reheated fraggle

Relevance is not an issue. If, however, nostalgia’s your bag, The Wonder Stuff provide more than Phill Jupitus waxing lyrical about 1987.

Having returned for five nights of beer-lashed bonhomie last December, this live album – 26 songs – features all the hits, all the atmosphere, and all the pertinence to modern music of an Iron Age nose flute.

For that they can thank their obsession with rehabilitating the fiddly-diddly sound. History hasn’t treated them kindly, and with the farm-hick vibe of songs like ‘On The Ropes’ or ‘Golden Green’, history seems bang on the money.

But it wasn’t all about making like a cider-bamboozled yokel. Because Miles Hunt – the kind of entertaining gobshite sorely lacking among today’s pallid indieblokes – also had a knack for hook-laden pop. So efficiently rough-and-ready versions of ‘Unbearable’, ‘A Wish Away’ and ‘Redberry Joy Town’ snarl with post-punkish anger, while grebo hoedowns of ‘Circle Square’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Down, Gently’ indicate this was a band who could spit bile [I]and[/I] create a daft, joyous party. It’s almost enough to lift this album above the sugar drip of sepia-tinted memories.

Rattling the collecting tin once more, it’s obviously your money they’re after baby. But, while they might be a relic from when

big shorts rather than nu-metal were the speciality of provincial indie, at least half this album is worth a little more of your hard-earned cash.

Jim Alexander