Wreckless Eric

Construction Time & Demolition

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Wreckless Eric growled like a dyspeptic grouch on his joyous 1978 debut, so it's not entirely surprising that he sounds like a bit of a crank on Construction Time & Demolition, an album delivered some four decades after his first. On "40 Years," Wreckless Eric acknowledges this fact, and it's not the only song where he contemplates the passing of time. It's the idea that drives the entire album: Things are built, things crumble, things are rebuilt. Far from sounding cynical about the cycle, Wreckless Eric seems bemused, sentimental, and sarcastic -- qualities that have enlivened his music from the start. Construction Time & Demolition happens to be one of the liveliest records he's ever made and also one of his complete ones. That doesn't mean it's tidy: There are rough edges throughout, including instrumentals that function as atmospheric bridges between the major songs. While Wreckless Eric may write with a louche air that seems casual, his mess is considered and lends gravity to the shifting skylines of "Gateway to Europe," the nearly psychedelic sigh of "The World Revolved Around Me," the ungrateful fans of "Wow & Flutter," and the revolving memories of "Forget Who You Are," which earns its epic length. Although the subjects are weighty, Wreckless Eric remains the same sly, funny writer that he's always been, so Construction Time & Demolition never feels heavy, and it also benefits from the singer/songwriter not hesitating to let his guard down. The album feels open-hearted and mischievous, a combination that is disarming upon the first listen and nourishing upon subsequent plays.

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