“I’ve got this name, and it doesn’t fit. I don’t know what I can do about it,” sings Eric Goulden on the opening track of his new album, Transience. The lyrics to "Father to the Man" are, perhaps, a nod to Goulden’s stage name, Wreckless Eric. The English rocker released Transience in May of this year and is touring in support of the record with a concert at Cooper-Young’s Bar DKDC on Sunday, November 10th, with Memphis musician Alex Greene as his opening act.
Goulden broke onto the English punk and new wave scene in the ’70s. Though he is perhaps best known for “Whole Wide World,” released on Stiff Records in 1977, Goulden has remained consistently active. He won praise for both 2018’s Construction Time & Demolition and 2015’s amERICa, and Transience proves the songsmith is still capable of transfixing.
Goulden’s new record sparkles with the enchantingly mellow sounds of clean guitars, electronic burbles, and warm fuzz boxes. More often than not, Goulden uses distortion and dissonance as a bed for his vocal melodies. When paired with electric pianos and acoustic guitars, as on the sweetly sincere “The Half of It,” the overall effect is like that of a warm blanket on a bitingly cold night, or a cup of coffee spiked with bourbon. The bite of the temperature out of doors serves only to underline the comfort provided by the blanket and a warm house.
“Strange Locomotion” has the bones of a 4/4 blues groove, but mutated and filtered through homemade fuzz boxes and burbling electronic noisemakers. “Indelible Stain” opens with a protracted groove that’s as long as the song that preceded it. Even on his own album, Wreckless Eric recklessly — and delightfully — bucks the rules. Still, for all the magic of the seven songs that come before it, the album closer “California / Handyman” is the standout track. Goulden’s refrain of “Californ-i-a” is hypnotic, and the electric piano and effects create an irresistibly dreamlike ambience that call the listener to drift into a trance.
Wreckless Eric and opener Alex Greene perform at Bar DKDC, Sunday, November 10th, 8 p.m.