By Al Muirez
Almost 10 years ago, The Wildhearts released what most people thought would be their final album.
Titled ‘¡Chutzpah!’,it was 36 minutes of awesomeness that I was still blasting out at neighbour-annoying volume.
Then something happened. The Wildhearts found each other again. A gig here. A gig there. And then a mention of new songs.
Could the band that have been the soundtrack to my life since 1992 (solo albums, and family tree bands too) really be about to record a slab of new music?
Yes. Yes they frickin’ were.
So here we are. 10 brand new tracks on a new album titled ‘Renaissance Men’, with what most fans are calling the ‘classic’ line-up of Ginger, C.J, Ritch and Danny.
First listen required volume and a bit of dance while I threw down some notes and opened a bottle of whiskey.
4 listens, an entire bottle of Fireball and a packet of fags later, I was sweating like I’d been to a gig with the biggest smile on my face I’d seen in a while.
It’s not a good album. It’s an incredible album. One of the best albums I’ve ever heard.
Straight out the traps with ‘Dislocated’, the tone of the album is set with a massive riff and an awesome chorus that instantly lets you know The Wildhearts are back.
Quickly followed with the one-two punch of ‘Let ‘em go’ and ‘The Renaissance Men’, (two of the finest punk rock tracks I’ve heard in a long while) you know this isn’t just a band going through the motions. Far from it. This is beautiful. This is perfect!
Having just gone through a break-up ‘The fine art of deception’ hit a little too close to home, but I dig it. Ginger has always supplied my soundtrack, so it didn’t come as too much of a surprise that there would be a track on here that blasted me in the heart!
When the classic rock intro of ‘Diagnosis’ comes along, you think maybe there’s going to be a change of pace. Nope! It’s a fine tune. Ginger delves into some very personal stuff, tackling mental health issues, and being let down by this country’s inept medical health profession.
This track is such an important one, and reached me on a very personal level, and….. it’s also got one of the finest choruses you’re going to hear this year. Absolute belter of a track.
The album does not let up. Really! ‘My kinda movie’ rips along and challenges your own view of your own life!
‘Little Flower’ is a ballsy rock n’ roll track highlighting the band’s vocals, and the way they bounce off of each other.
‘Emergency (Fentanyl Babylon)’ again, is packed with riffs and rockets along, fist in the air and making no apologies for it.
So many albums these days start strong but tail off towards the end. Not The Wildhearts though, It’s like the best were saved till last! ‘My side of the bed’ isn’t just musically superb, the lyrics make you sit up and take note of who you actually are. Casual racism is not ok. Sexism is not ok. This song challenges how you see the world and invites you to maybe smarten up and start treating people with respect. I love it. I love the message and I love the music. It’s perfect.
And then…. my favourite track on the whole album. ‘Pilo Erection’ grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let go. It takes you all over the place with that frenzied intro into a big pounding riff building into old-school rock n’roll! I love this! It’s got a slight country feel to it too, which makes me jump around!
Uplifting isn’t the word! It’s everything a Wildhearts song is meant to be! It’s such a beautiful, wonderful song and a great way to end this album.
Go and buy it right now. In fact, buy two and give one to a friend. God bless The Wildhearts
Review by Al Muirez