BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
An early signing to Britain’s infamous Stiff Records label — the same stable of artists that originally introduced Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and Ian Drury — Wreckless Eric created a persona that was odd, irreverent, and flush with pure attitude. His initial appearance on the label’s initial sampler, A Bunch of Stiffs, quickly established him as an artist to be reckoned with, but it was his subsequent single, “(I’d Go The) Whole Wide World,” that made him a star and quickly established his originality.
Eric eventually grew disgruntled with Stiff and ventured out on his own, but despite a variety of different guises — The Captains of Industry, The Len Bright Combo, Le Beat Group Electrique, The Hitsville House Band and his given name, Eric Goulden. — he never found the subsequent success he was looking for. Relocating to upstate New York — where he currently resides with his significant other, singer/songwriter Amy Rigby — he relaunched his career, with Rigby and on his own, slowly regaining his footing and capitalizing on his earlier credence.
Eric’s new album Construction Time & Demolition is all the title implies, an erratic set of songs that’s decidedly left of center but boasting the ebullience and energy that’s so critical to his motif. Some of the songs are straight on — “Gateway to Europe,” “The Two of Us,” Unnatural Act” and “They Don’t Mean No Harm” in particular — but others are slightly askew and oddly off-kilter. The woozy “The World Revolved Around Me,” the claptrap rhythms that underscore “Flash” and the eerily erratic “40 Years” give the sense that for all Eric’s enthusiasm, there’s something that’s decidedly out of sync. It’s odd but intriguing, but in ways only Eric can imagine.
Still, Wreckless Eric wouldn’t be nearly as wreckless if not for his quirks and curiosities. Like everything he’s procured in the past, Construction Time & Demolition is a reminder of those heady days when punk and pop found common ground.
DOWNLOAD: “Gateway to Europe,” “The Two of Us,” Unnatural Act, ”They Don’t Mean No Harm”