Wreckless Eric is Eric Goulden. He was given the name to hide behind. After a while he realised he was stuck with it. Onstage he hides behind nothing, he tells the truth with big open chords, squalls of feedback, lilting enchantment, bizarre stories and backchat.
Nothing Eric has to say sounds like it was said by someone else first. Some people can’t take it. Thirty seven years of touring have left him in good shape. He’s coming to town.
His new album “amERICa” out now on Fire Records is enjoying universal acclaim
One of the greatest songwriters ever to come out of Great Britain Marc Riley BBC 6 MUSIC
amERICa is that rare record. Goulden is grownup, with all of the stereotypical benefits: an air of wisdom, emotional texture, and, perhaps most cliché of all, a seasoned voice. amERICa isn’t complacent or satisfied; Wreckless Eric anatomizes his surroundings with the wide-eyed thrill of discovery. His American flyover reveals simmering cultural disturbances and essential beauty alike. Pitchfork
Wreckless Eric has always been a pop musician. That is, he writes melodies with hooks in the chorus and fills his verses with quick, vivid details aimed to make you nod your head in recognition. The precise nostalgia and wry yearning he brings to this slice of autobiography rings true, funny and poignant. Ken Tucker, NPR/Fresh Air
Instantly recognizable but eternally individual, Wreckless Eric’s first solo album in over a decade opens with a slice of defiant autobiography that really is all the background you need. If you know Eric from past glories or even gories, then you’ll know everything he’s singing about. And, if you don’t, then you’re even luckier because AmERICa will unfold before your drooling ears like the movie you’ve been waiting to fall in love with for so long, but been too bound up in cookie crumbs to embrace.
Partially, possibly, inspired by the near relentless touring that has occupied him over the past few years; possibly partly fed by his innumerable encounters with elderly fans who look at him sideways as he takes to the stage and ask “didn’t you used to be Len Bright?,” Wreckless may or may not be feeling buoyed by a recent clutch of reissued classics.
But he’s also turning in one of the most vibrant albums of his career, a collection that picks its targets well, then marries them to the kind of tunefulness that speaks volumes for his own poptastic instincts and doesn’t care a bespectacled dwarf for anything outside of his own frame of reference.
As he sings in “Transitory Thing“ (a drifting kind of ballad whose mournful mood belies an off kilter hopefulness that ranks among his most hard-hitting lyrics ever), “travel broadens the mind, but I must be the stay-at-home kind” and you suddenly realize how gloriously and unapologetically timeless this album is. Even when he announces, with no fanfare beforehand, “so this is the space age. Isn’t it crap.”
Guitars are as chunky as they ought to be, percussion as crunching, other things as stompy. You put it on and crank it up, and suddenly you’re a kid again, no matter when you were born, first time alone in your parents house, with no-one to tell you to turn it down, a broom for a guitar and a hairbrush for a mike, leaping off the sofa like Pete Townshend off an amp stack, and wondering why doesn’t every record makes you feel as alive as AmERICa.
Because not many records are as alive as AmERICa, and there’s even fewer people around who could write songs as sparkling as those that fill it up.
A teetering pile of wax and CDs insists, compilations of previously released stuff notwithstanding, that this is Eric’s seventeenth album, under seven different identities. Most of them are marvelous, a few are better than that. One is the best LP released by anybody, anywhere, throughout the course of an entire decade, and that’s one helluva legacy for anyone to balance on.
But AmERICa might just have kicked them all over, and insisted we start counting again.
Sunday 7th May 2017
Price: £10 advance (+stbf)