This is where things get difficult. I was sat in the pub recently talking with a friend about separating the music from the person who made it. We were talking in terms of people like Clapton and Morrissey, both of whom I detest both for their music and their obnoxious “views”. Now many of you will already know that Miles is my brother, some of you may have worked that out from reading between the lines in this blog. My brothers music has meant as much to me over the years as anything by Bowie or Paul Weller or Bruce Springsteen or any other of my musical heroes. I could count on one finger the number of his songs where I would say “ooh…I really don’t like that one” but here we are at a point where I have to separate the music from the person that made it.
Well, I cant ! Since releasing The Wonder Stuff album “Oh No It's... The Wonder Stuff” in 2012 each subsequent release has been what I hear as “the best thing he’s ever done”, whether it be another TWS album (“Oh No…”, “30 Goes Around The Sun” and “Better Being Lucky”) or solo (2 volumes of “The Custodian” and “Things Can Change”) or as here with everyone’s favourite violinist Erica Nockalls. He’s been on a creative roll for the past 11 years that has been a pleasure and an awe inspiring thing to behold.
This was Miles and Erica’s 3rd album together following “Not An Exit” in 2007 and “Catching More Than We Miss” in 2009. While both of those albums had a “full band” feel about them the stark black and white cover shot (taken in the tunnel beneath Amsterdam Centraal Station trivia fans) of “We Came Here To Work” heralds a more stripped back, acoustic duo feel. Miles has said of it
“The music that The Wonder Stuff make is for nights out with your friends, what Erica and I have hopefully done with ‘We Came Here To Work’ is make music for nights spent at home in more genteel company.”
It starts out with “When The Currency Was Youth”, I guess the title revealssome of the subject matter, which has some delicious lyrics and a melody to get you hooked from the off
“For the avoidance of the truth we couldn’t give it away any cheaper,
But when the currency was youth our pockets were so much deeper”
Erica’s violin soars through the song as do her strings everywhere during this record.
The centrepiece of the record is “We Came Here To Work”, obviously, the whole album got named after it. Miles has been writing little introductory lines to his songs on the lyric sheets of albums for years, for this song he writes
“I raise my glass to every brave soul that has ever had the courage to leave their homeland behind them in search of a safer and happier existence.
And a pox upon those that would attempt to deny anyone that right”
Miles doesn’t often write politically motivated songs but this one nails his argument. If it’s something you have difficulty with then perhaps re-read the second sentence above and react accordingly. We’re all human after all.
“The door was open and the journey was long, We came here to work,
And now we’re told that we don’t belong, And that really hurts”
It is a more gentle and less bouncy record than much of Miles Wonder Stuff stuff. It’s thought provoking and very personal in places. It is difficult for me to write about these records with my confessed bias. If you’re a fan you don’t need me to tell you, if you’ve never heard Miles & Erica or TWS now might not be a bad time to start.
We Came Here To Work - https://youtu.be/BbhFyPCnkwo