The Wonder Stuff: Eight Legged Groove Machine (1988)

Some albums and bands you just kinda take for granted and end up underestimating.  I remember this one coming out shortly after I graduated college and really loving it at the time.  It had 3-4 absolutely fantastic songs that I found myself putting on pretty much every mix tape I made for the next few years (and I made a lot of mix tapes back then).  But I didn't listen to the album itself much beyond that (I'd start to, then skip ahead to those handful of really amazing songs), and ended up not following the band's career, only years later circling back and starting to pick up some of the (pretty damn good) albums that followed.

The album is British post-punk guitar pop, maybe not too dissimilar from some of the other UK bands I started getting into during that era (The Primitives, Darling Buds), some hints of the Madchester and Britpop bands that would follow in the years ahead.  They also had a pretty cynical, snarky edge, some bitter break-up songs taking the place of the more traditional love & joy songs you might expect to find given the bouncy guitars and generally upbeat tempos.  The humor and bite distinguish this from some of the heavier vibes that Britpop would come to offer.

My favorite tracks here are "A Wish Away," a straightforward and impossibly infectious pop tune that holds up every bit as well today, and the biting but equally catchy "Unbearable."  Nearly as great are the perky "Grin," and the energetic British Invasion throwback "It's Yer Money I'm After Baby."  And while those songs are so compelling I tend to just revisit them on repeat mode, listening to the album from start to finish offers plenty of other fun, light-hearted and inherently catchy guitar-driven pop tunes.

Here's the video for "A Wish Away":
...and "Unbearable":
...and "It's Yer Money":