Taking punk's D.I.Y. ideals and applying it to stripped-down acoustic pop, the Woodentops achieved a great deal of critical success in the short time they were together. Formed in the early '80s in Northhampton, England, the group consisted of Rolo McGinty (vocals, guitar), Frank de Freitas (bass), Simon Mawby (guitar), Benny Staples (drums), and Alice Thompson (keyboards). The band released their debut single "Plenty" on Food Records; the record led to a contract with Rough Trade. Throughout 1985, the Woodentops released a series of singles, all written by McGinty, that began to attract an audience in the U.K. The group released their acclaimed debut album, Giant, in 1986. The following year, the band began experimenting with their sound, adding tougher guitars and electronics. These changes were particularly evident in their live show, as shown by their 1987 live recording, Hypno-Beat. Featuring the contributions of professional studio musicians Bernie Worrell and Doug Wimbish among others, 1988's Wooden Foot Cops on the Highway continued the group's experimentations with rhythmic and sonic textures.
While the band managed to keep creative, they weren't able to gain much of an audience anywhere outside Japan. In 1991 and 1992, they toured the world without ever becoming any bigger than a cult band. Soon after, the Woodentops broke up.
This album, the group's best, explores a wide range of variations on the band's signature manic pop style, here adding occasional marimba, trumpet, accordion, and strings to the mix. The nervous single "Get It On" is presented in an intricately redone version, an improvement over its appearance on Well Well Well. Other great jittery numbers here include the frantic "Love Train" and "Travelling Man," as well as the stun-level manic "Shout" and "Hear Me James." The midtempo numbers here are generally excellent, especially the warmly expressive "Good Thing" and the lovely, loping "G.......