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Construction For The Modern Vidiot

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Album Review

Tagged grebo in the U.K. and indie in the U.S. (an even more ridiculous label considering they were signed to Polygram and lobbed 15 singles and EPs into the British Top 50 charts), the Wonder Stuff were the press darlings of their generation. Eight years together, four fabulous albums, and all those hits, and then they went and kicked it in the head in 1994, calling it a day for no particularly good reason. Six years later the Stuff came to their senses, got back together, and hit the road. Construction for the Modern Vidiot, filmed over the next 18 months between December 2000 and June 2002, captures the band on-stage at three superb shows interspersed with snippets of interviews, and also includes bonus extras including more extensive band interviews. In many ways, it's like the Stuff never left — certainly their fans hadn't moved on and the bandmembers weren't ready to either, for they offered nothing new, just power-packed career-spanning sets filled with hits and crowd-pleasers. But as singer/guitarist Miles Hunt quips, "With songs like these, who needs a new album," although one would duly arrive in 2004. Still, he was right — the songs have lost nothing in the intervening years, for the band's discomfortable and angst-driven themes really can never grow old. And with rock making a big comeback, the music has barely dated. Not that the Stuff were a rock band; actually, they were the apotheosis of post-punk, something that only became clear with hindsight. The group seems determined to make the links clear on-stage, from the clutch of songs that echo with the grit, epic melodies, and swelling dynamics of early U2, cresting with "On the Ropes," the Banshee-esque drone that tinges "Ten Trenches Deep," the Bunnymen bend of "Poison," and the punky Psychedelic Furs-ish epiphany they reach on the epic "Good Night Though." Slashes of Clash, nods to the Pogues — hey, they even dedicate "Unbearable" to Dee Dee Ramone. The massive crowds couldn't get enough, and with "Golden Green" couldn't even wait for Hunt to sing the chorus, pipping him, unprompted, to the punch. The Stuff sound absolutely phenomenal, like they'd never left, and five minutes with this DVD and you'll be ecstatic that they're back — guaranteed.


Formed: 1987 in Stourbridge, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Somewhere between the mid-'80s and mid-'90s, the Wonder Stuff were one of the biggest bands in the U.K. Starting as a revved-up guitar pop band, later adding offbeat folk influences while occasionally nodding to the excess of the Madchester scene, cleverness and eclecticism were the Wonder Stuff's calling cards. The group was also blessed/cursed with a frontman, Miles Hunt, who had a gift of arrogant gab, delivering bitingly witty lyrics and lively interviews that won plenty of space in the U.K....
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Construction For The Modern Vidiot, The Wonder Stuff
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