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Review: 'Hunt, Miles'
'The Custodian'   

-  Label: 'Good Deeds Music'
-  Genre: 'Indie' -  Release Date: '5th October 2018'

Our Rating:
‘Unbearable’ pretty much sums up my relationship with The Wonderstuff. Only, that’s not entirely true. ‘Eight-Legged Groove Machine’ is a cracking album, brimming with energy, the brash confidence. For me, things went rapidly downhill after the first album, and listening to ‘The Custodian’ reaffirms my opinion.

The edge certainly dissipates after the first few tracks – and given that it contains 30 of them, it’s a bit of a slog. Does the world – or even the Stuffies’ fanbase need a double album of acoustic renditions of the selected highlights of the band’s back catalogue and Hunt’s subsequent output? I’d argue possibly not, but Miles Hunt seems to think so, so here we are. Given the enduring love of the band, fans will likely side with Hunt on this one.

Exuberant but carrying darker undertones they may have, but ‘The Size of a Cow; and ‘Caught in my Shadow’ are still catchy, buoyant pop songs. But there is a gradual shift of tone as history is spun out in sequence, and by the time we reach disc 2, we’re already at 2002, with ‘Everything is not Okay’ representing the Miles Hunt Club opening the second batch of fifteen prime cuts. This rendition sound almost identical to the original, only played on acoustic guitar and without the shuffling turn-of-the-millennium percussion.

If there is a sense of back-catalogue-milking-cash-in about this release, it nevertheless gives cause to reflect on what is, indisputably, an admirably enduring career. There is a clear trajectory here: from the bratty, cocksure bravado of the early years, through a phase of commercial ‘alternative’ ‘indie’ tunes, to a more ‘mature’ sound that even ventures into U2 territory on ‘Tricks of the Trade.’ There’s a sense that as the lyrics become more sincere and better crafted, the music which accompanies them becomes increasingly safe and predictable.

It’s all a matter f perspective, of course: some will no doubt say Hunt’s songwriting is like a fine wine, others will revel in the nostalgia for the early 90s peak of The Wonderstuff, and others still – like me – will say (and some sincerely and without feigning hipster cool) ‘I preferred their early stuff’.
  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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Hunt, Miles - The Custodian