Wreckless Eric: amERICa

Trenchant tales of an Englishman abroad.

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Domestic bliss appears to have done wonders for Wreckless Eric. As has a change of scenery. A New York resident for four years now, where he lives with wife and fellow songwriter Amy Rigby, Eric’s creative faculties are keener than ever on this first solo album in over a decade.

He still has a voice like a Dickensian guttersnipe, all the better for scratching away at the minutiae of urban life to uncover the grime therein.

It’s all done with such fabulously sour cynicism and heaps of self-deprecation, be it looking back on his 70s beginnings with Stiff on the VU-ish Several Shades Of Green (‘I was nearly someone back in the day’) or detailing the false promises of a shiny future on Space Age (‘So this is the space age/Isn’t it crap?’).

The DIY arrangements – treated guitars, keyboards, the odd banjo – sometimes sound like they’ve been fixed up with gaffer tape, adding to the immediacy of songs like Boy Band, a comedic tale about has-beens on a dodgy comeback trail, and the autobiographical, genuinely affecting Property Shows.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.