One Beaut of a Tune, All Alone, Occupying the Cleanup Spot


The Wonder Stuff’s “Another Comic Tragedy” is the grand fourth song off the veteran Britpoppers’ otherwise unfortunate “comeback” album, and it works the grand tradition of other poignant fourth-song bad-album bee-yutes like the Verve’s “The Drugs Don’t Work,” Guided By Voices’ “Hold on Hope,” and Jesse Camp’s “Summertime Squatters”—bittersweet, hopeful things, they poke their little heads from the murk that fills their respective LPs, only to get sucked back into their creators’ lifeless aesthetic tar pits, never heard again except maybe at the end of a Scrubs episode, where “The Drugs Don’t Work” would work particularly well . . .

That Wonder Stuff number would play better over one of the show’s trademark Lovelorn Doctor scenes. As Miles Hunt begs his woman’s voice mail to “please pick up, it’s not funny anymore,” his sympathetic background-mates echo him, pause for a moment’s reflection, and reiterate, “I’m not laughing!” To show how smart and witty he is, Hunt packs the syllables into lines about “text messaging” and “ultimatums,” but his simply beautiful refrain keeps giving away the heart in his mouth. Rubbish Island‘s other tunes, though, are nine uncompelling midtempos; they’d wear down even Zach Braff’s patients.

The Wonder Stuff play Irving Plaza May 8.