Forty years after “Whole Wide World,” Wreckless Eric is doing some of his best work | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Forty years after “Whole Wide World,” Wreckless Eric is doing some of his best work

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Some musicians might deem it a drag to be best known for their first single, but English rock songwriter Wreckless Eric’s a pretty good sport about it. He’s still willing to play “Whole Wide World” and his other hits for Stiff Records 40 years after their release, but Eric (whose given surname is Goulden) is hardly coasting. Between his contributions to the three albums he’s made with his wife, Amy Rigby, and his recent solo LPs, amERICa (Fire) and Construction Time & Demolition (Southern Domestic), he can easily assemble a great set from songs he’s recorded in the last ten years. Back in the day Eric sang a lot about romantic disappointment, but nowadays it’s technology and geopolitics that let him down. “Space Age” contrasts the optimistic embrace of science during the Sputnik and Apollo era with the dubious payoffs of contemporary communication methods; “Gateway to Europe” compares the economic bust his hometown, Hull, suffered when England first joined the European Union with the city’s post-Brexit circumstances and finds that while things look different, not much has changed. In his home studio, Eric and a shifting ensemble of side players work up loose, psychedelic sounds that draw heavily upon the examples set in the late 60s by the Rolling Stones and the Velvet Underground, but on this tour he’ll be playing solo, accompanying his vocals with guitars and old effects boxes.   v

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