The Eight Legged Groove Machine (Remastered)
Hyperbole aside, this 1988 debut album might be the greatest pop album that you never heard. It’s got everything: ringing guitar riffs, scathing British wit courtesy of a malcontent band leader/frontman, “oh-oh-oh” harmonies, some ’70s punk rock throwback, and airliner-sized choruses that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Curt Boettcher production from the '60s. Tunes like the jangly “Merry Go Round,” “A Wish Away,” “A Song Without an End,” and the U.K. hit ode to greed “Give Give Give Me More More More” all shimmer on ’60s garage-pop sensibilities. The Rick Astley dis (“Astley in a Noose”) is the best sing-song epistle to pop hatred since The Smiths’ “Panic.” Narcissism, irony, and brutal truth all share space among the guitar hooks on “It’s Yer Money I’m After Baby,” while the reins pull back on the shimmery, weirdly cathartic “Some Sad Someone.” The lyrics on “Goodbye Fatman” cleverly shift from first to third person, against heavy rhythmic fluctuations, and the song is deceptively empathetic, and literate.