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Worldstallestthing - Be Prepared To Stop

  by John Clarkson

published: 17 / 12 / 2001

Worldstallestthing - Be Prepared To Stop
Label: Midair Collision
Format: CD


Worldstallestthing plan to release records that have an emphasis on quality rather than quantity, and this is reflected on ‘Be Prepared to Stop’, their four track debut EP which, running at just under

Worldstallestthing plan to release records that have an emphasis on quality rather than quantity, and this is reflected on ‘Be Prepared to Stop’, their four track debut EP which, running at just under twelve minutes and featuring both acoustic and electric numbers, has already drawn its singer-songwriter leader, Ian Baker, comparisions with Paul Weller, Paul Westerberg, Neil Finn and Elliot Smith. Baker, who is in his thirties and who, while now based in Boston, was brought up in rural Wisconsin, played in bands throughout his teens, but by his early twenties had dropped out of music. A chance meeting with another local musician, Mark Yurkovich, two years ago in 1998, however, encouraged him to start songwriting again, and resulted in him forming Worldstallesthings with a revolving set of friends and fellow musicians later that year. ‘Be Prepared to Stop’, which is limited to 1200 copies, was released at the beginning of 1999. ‘Free’, the opening tune and the first song that Baker wrote when he returned to music, charts the rise, fall and eventual collapse of a relationship. It begins gently, in almost tweelike sunny optimism with a new couple in an initial haze of passion. With increased layers of guitars being added to the mix, and Baker’s vocals forcefully starting to rise, hings, however, start to rapidly go askew, and finally, the guitars a whirling, electric mesh, and Baker’s voice soaring with anger, bewilderment and pain, the love affair disintegrates and folds. It is a dramatic and breathless beginning, and the next two songs, which are both acoustic, prove to be quieter, but no less powerful. The second song , written about and also in the style of Paul Westerberg, is called ‘The Greatest Could Have Been’. It a ballad with a niggling, clipped bass line and is topped off at its end with a mournful, softly swirling synthesiser solo. The third number ‘Lollipop Up’ , the most emotionally charged of the four songs on the EP, was written in a day and recorded on the next again one in just one take. It features Baker unaccompanied sparsely strumming a guitar, his vocals tender and worn, and is seen from the viewpoint of the estranged husband of a friend, who was knocked down and dragged for a block by a drunk driver in an accident. Finally there is ‘Where You Gonna Run’, a cover of a 1980 new wave pub rock tune, written in the style of Graham Parker, and originally recorded by the long disbanded group ‘Spooner’, who came from the same town of Madison in Wisconsin as Baker, and which featured in its its line-up Duke Erikson,Steve Marker and Butch Vig, all of whom have since met with international success in ‘Garbage’. The Worldstallestthings version of ‘Where You Gonna Run’ finishes the EP on a light and funny note. Recorded at the close of a long late night session, it has the song in its last few seconds grinding to a halt, as a result of a missed drum beat, and collapsing, amidst swearing, into chaos. A last crash of the drums, a leftover from the previous take, then brings the tune and the CD to a final, forceful, fitting end. This is a CD that has musical energy and ideas flowing out of it, and that packs a whole range of emotions- poignancy, humour, warmth, pain, anger and nostalgia- into its short running time. All four of its songs manage to be dramatically different and distinct from one another. Worldstallestthings have a split 7” single that will also feature Yurkovich’s band ‘Shecky’ coming out in the next few weeks, and are preparing an album that will hopefully be released in the late summer or early autumn. With songs as strong as these, Ian Baker is a name to be watched closely in the near future.

Track Listing:-
1 Free
2 The Greatest Could Have Been (Demo)
3 Lollipop Up
4 Where You Gonna Run

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Interview (2002)
Worldstallestthing - Interview
Ian Baker is the front man and vocalist in 'Worldstallestthing', a band which he formed, with a fluctuating line-up of friends and fellow musicians, as an outlet for his songwriting talents in 1998. B

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