This record is a monumental achievement in the history of human aspiration - it's The Pyramids of rock and roll.
For just as the Egyptians managed to erect their gigantic edifices without the aid of anything but the simplest of machines, so Wreckless Eric - who lacks any of the fundamentals of a successful career in music: a good voice, instrumental ability, charisma, good looks, or melodic felicity - has nonetheless created one of the great records of our time. The disparity between the talent and the end product is so staggering it baffles.
What Eric does have in spades is energy, insight, and a recognition of his own limitations - and these three attributes drive some brilliant songwriting. You can't deny these hooks: hell's bells, buckets of blood
/ you can't wind wind wind wind wind her up
/ back in my ... ho-ometown
- fantastic tunes, all of 'em.
And the delivery is tops too. Eric doesn't have much (any) range in his voice, and he doesn't hit all (many) of the notes, but he gives each reading here just the right combination of attack, humor, and dynamic control to express the shades of emotion within the song.
And these songs are full of genuine human feeling. Where any other person with this type of voice would go for a novelty effect (and Wreckless Eric was branded with a 'drunken boor' image by his record label), Eric explores all aspects of life, from a hopeless public transportation crush, to the sister-in-law who talks too much.
There's never a false moment in these vignettes. "Broken Doll" is tender and mournful; "Tonight" is cruel and sleazy - both are written with such an eye for the little things that they seem quite authentic. Even the obligatory anti-record company rant is tolerable, as a sense of the absurdity of it all underpins the enterprise (has anyone ever put more drama into a phrase like get some AM/FM action in the United States
by Reviewer: Steve Knowlton
(blogging at Steve's Record Reviews