The Wonder Stuff

Hup!

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There was a sea change in British pop music in early 1989, a point where suddenly nearly all of the groups that had been making two-minute guitar pop songs inspired by the Smiths and/or the Buzzcocks were transformed into neo-psychedelic bands combining synth-based dance grooves with trippy guitar textures. Unlike many of their contemporaries (the Soup Dragons the most obvious example), the Wonder Stuff wisely resisted the temptation to jump onto the bandwagon with both feet. Even though the album starts with the Madchester-like "30 Years in the Bathroom," which opens with a lengthy collage of samples and found dialogue, the album then vacillates between new-style groove rock along the lines of the clattering "Radio Ass Kiss" and more traditional Wonder Stuff material like the excellent single "Don't Let Me Down Gently." There's even room for the banjo-powered "Golden Green," which presages the playful folk-rock of the group's next album, Never Loved Elvis. Hup! is much more varied than the Wonder Stuff's debut, though it does lack that album's monomaniacal focus.

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