Powerpop Review: Wreckless Eric’s AmERICa
Eric Goulding, better known as Wreckless Eric from his days as one of Stiff Records’ pen of powerpop artists, has recently released one of the more intriguing albums of 2015. Recorded at his home in update New York, AmERICa consists of a collection of observations and commentary from his travels across the USA.
I’ve always valued melody over lyrics. Sound has always meant more than words in my personal aesthetic. If you’re like me, AmERICa will be an absolute joy to listen to. There aren’t a whole lot of pop hooks here but Eric has created a sonic landscape that is absolutely mesmerizing.
So why is it so compelling? His observations are sometimes astute, sometimes not so much. However, despite the fact that Eric’s commentary can be more rhetoric than insight, the music itself is absolutely brilliant. Loops and reverb are well-played instruments here, creating not a wall of sound but a collage – one that would make Phil Spector jealous. Goulding is as much a painter here as a musician here, and the end result is something incredibly satisfying.
On the opening track, “Several Shades of Green”, you’ll note that his voice has changed little since his appearance on the Live Stiffs Live LP with “Reconnez Cherie” and “Semaphore Signals”, two highlights from a live album that included contributions from the likes of Nick Lowe, Ian Dury, and Elvis Costello. Eric attacks capitalism with “Sysco Sucks” and the second amendment with “White Bread”. For those viewing the world through a left-ish prism, this will really resonate. “Space Age” is my personal favorite and a song that speaks particularly to the sensibilities of any one who remembers the late 70’s when Wreckless Eric first made his mark with the very memorable “Whole Wide World”.
While I may not share the same politics or world view as Goulding, I have incredible appreciation for his undiminished enthusiasm and unwavering punk attitude.
AmERICa is one of my favorite records of 2015 and clearly one of the most innovative. If you look at music and art as one and the same (which they are, at their basic core), you will find this LP to be extremely satisfying. Somewhere (in the afterlife, I suppose), you can bet that this disc is in constant rotation at Joe Meek‘s place.