If It Ain’t Stiff…Wreckless Eric’s Leisureland
Just a few weeks back we discussed a recent Hardwicke Circus release and the curious appearance of a number of ex-Stiff Records characters. Low and behold, here comes yet another. The voice behind Stiff’s hit “Whole Wide World”, Wreckless Eric is back with a brand new one entitled Leisureland.
A Near Death Experience
Truth is, he never disappeared. He dropped his previous moniker in favor of numerous others, releasing records under names such as The Len Bright Combo, Le Beat Group Electrique, The Donovan Of Trash, and The Hitsville House Band.
A near death experience at the sharp end of a Covid stick gave him food for thought. The end result is Leisureland, a winding musical and lyrical journey through his native England and the world as seen through the eyes of a once eternal, now mortal cynic.
The album starts off with “Southern Rock”, the chorus of which suggests a strong dislike for not only the genre but Eric’s initial experiences in the US. Lyrically, it’s pretty damn clever. And surprisingly catchy. Thinking back on his youth, “Badhat Town” relies on a refrain and a repetitive guitar motif to hook the listener – and it does. Similar with “Standing Water”, a tune that describes so many British seaside towns.
If It’s Stiff, It Ain’t Necessarily Power Pop
Many of the songs on Leisureland feel like a meandering journey, relying on lyrical descriptions more than a catchy hook or melody. The songs feel similar to those of Jim Carroll in a sense – these are poems put to music. I would guess that words almost assuredly were written before the music. But the similarity ends there.
As a rule, this is most definitely NOT a power pop record. The lone exception is the final track. “Drag Time” is a catchy little tune with an infectious chorus, a hook that really sticks. It’s short and punchy, a two and a half minute piece of Bubblegum that leaves you wanting more.