The fiercely independent Celtic punk collective Ferocious Dog mesh traditional instruments such as fiddle, banjo and mandolin with distorted guitars, punk, ska and folky goodness. They mix politics and music well and have a fiery live reputation that makes them regulars on the festival circuit.

Although the Nottingham based 6 piece have been around since the late 80’s, their debut album was not released until 2013. A debut album born out of tragedy after Lee, the son of singer Ken Bonsall, tragically took his own life in 2012 at just 24 years of age.

With main man Ken having a working class, miners upbringing and taking influence from political artists such as Billy Bragg, New Model Army, and the Levellers, it’s no surprise that the band is a platform to tackle and raise awareness to social issues from history and spread the message of justice and solidarity.

This remastered version of their debut album comes packaged with a second disc recorded live at Leeds O2 Academy last year, with the addition of a 6-piece orchestra.

Ferocious Dog have a habit of leading you into a false sense of security with a mournful fiddle introduction, a wistfully picked mandolin, or a strummed acoustic chord progression before they take things up several notches. For there is as much power in their music as there is in the lyrics. This debut album doesn’t leave much room for balladry, the emphasis is on passion, anger and the themes of liberty and justice for all.

Opener ‘The Glass’ documents Lee Bonsall’s last day on earth, yet musically is an upbeat and euphoric blast of Celtic punk. It rides on a cool banjo riff to an urgent rhythmic backing and is as anthemic as anything I have heard in recent years, a perfect album opener and a perfect introduction to Ferocious Dog.

Yes, the Levellers comparisons are justified, but there is a bit more to Ferocious Dog than that. There are raucous upbeat drinking songs such as the instrumental ‘Lee’s Tune’ and the classic fan favourite ‘Hell Hounds’ that are fantastic examples, but elsewhere, there are dub vibes on the likes of ‘Freeborn John’ and heavy ska influences in the excellent ‘Pocket Of Madness’. There is also traditional folk, ‘Paddy On The Railways’ is as close to the Pogues you can get without having a whiskey with Shane McGowan.

Mixed and mastered superbly by Al Scott, who brings out the best in the songs especially the vocal department, ‘Ferocious Dog’ is as fresh and vibrant as the day it was released and lyrically it probably means even more in these trying times.

If you are already a fan or have even just caught Ferocious Dog live in the past 10 years, then the real gem of this release lies in the bonus disc, a full gig recorded at the O2 Academy in Leeds last year with a 6-piece string section. A full set of their songs reimagined with a different, orchestral soundscape.

Opener ‘Landscape Artist’ lets the listener know that this is not to be a laid-back affair. The mass of strings weave their magic over the melodies and Ken’s raw, but perfectly delivered vocals.

Stripped of electric guitars, the folk inspired ditties lose none of their power, in fact as with other orchestral rock albums of the past (Metallica for example) it adds a cinematic depth which can be just as powerful as a bank of Marshall stacks.

The strings amplify the emotion in the beauty. The likes of ‘A&B’ and ‘Justice For 96’ benefit immensely and the euphoria created in ‘Broken Soldiers’ will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention.

Ken Bonsall’s loveable charm as a frontman comes across well, and his ability to engage with his audience is second to none, even teasing the local crowd to a ”Yorkshire, Yorkshire!” chant.

The addition of a new studio recording of ‘Too Late’ is tagged on at the end for good measure.

If you are a longtime Hell Hound or a curious Furious Dog virgin, there is much to enjoy in this 10th anniversary edition. A debut album that is as urgent and vital as the day it was released, backed with a document of a magical evening in Leeds that may make you check out why this band have a great live reputation.

Author: Ben Hughes

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Half a dozen new entries into the Single Club Jukebox this month but there might well need to be another meeting in a few weeks. It’s never about quantity but always quality and boy have we got quality tunes from far and wie this month. Check em out…

Fights – ‘Serenity Now’ (Lie Laga Records) Let’s get this straight right out of the traps. Fights ‘Serenity Now’ is an absolute raging banger! no two ways about it this is a fuckin’ blast from the raging vocals to the apocalyptic guitar solo and frantic rhythm this is the mutt’s nuts!

The scream the preceeds the solo deserves a standing ovation on its own. Fights come raging from Norway (of course they do) and ply their harcore punk tip as well as any other band I’ve heard doing this genre this side of the first Bloodclot album. Its lifted from the upcoming debut album “Scampirock” that drops April 21st. And I fuckin’ loves it.  FOLLOW FIGHTS:  Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

Bad Nerves – ‘Don’t Stop’ (Suburban Records) BAD NERVES the first single from their alive in London 10″ album is the epic ‘Don’t Stop’. Bad Nerves are a 5-piece Powerpop-Rock ‘n’ Roll band from Essex. The bastard child of a Ramones/Strokes one night stand, they play ferociously fast distorted pop songs, with melodies that hook so deep, even the most skilled lobotomist would struggle to scrape them out. As a follow up to their self-titled debut album (2020), they are now releasing a 10″ live album: Alive in London. It’s short, sharp and yet another banger. Of course it’s got a top melody and a buzzsaw riff and the kinda song you can’t get out of your head for ages and the first thing you want to hear when you wake up in the morning. Get some Bad Nerves in your life they’re cool as fuck and play great Rock n Roll.

Baby Schillaci – ‘Radical’ (Self Release) There seem to be things happening in the land of song and way out west especially. Baby Schillaci are making all the right noises on the alt scene and this new video backs that up. An attention-grabbing slice of post-punk ‘Radical’ is a right old earworm burrowing in and tickling your fancy excellent and proper. From the twisting riff to the smart lyrics this is a wonderful introduction to the band and with live shows already booked and an album the future looks bright and West is indeed best. they’ve already pencilled in the next single for April and that’s a right Banger but until then this will most certainly do. Baby Schillaci is the name remember it

Ferocious Dog – ‘Too Late’ (Graphite Records) To celebrate the forthcoming 10 year anniversary of their self titled debut album, Ferocious Dog unveil a brand new video – ‘Too Late’ 2022, an updated version of live favourite. Complete with bells and whistles (quite literally) Fans old and new will love it. It’s taken from the double album that features one CD remastered whilst the other disc is a live show recorded last year in Leeds. The band plan to make up for covid with over forty dates already booked for this year tickets can be picked up Here

Chuck Norris Experiment – ‘Tryin’ (Ghost Highway Records) One of our favourite scandi rockers Chuck Norris Experiment have always released great singles and this is no exception. Like a wall of noise that only Evil Knievil could get over so it makes sense theres a helmet of his on the cover art of this banger. Scream for me Sweden – You fuckers rock and the feeling most certainly comes through 100% bonafide rockers Chuck Norris deliver yet another top tune. Get on it kids have we ever let you down on our recommendations? of course not and neither have CNE or Ghost Highway.

Bad//Dreems – ‘See You Tomorrow’ (Farmer And The Owl/BMG) Lifted from their album ‘HOO HA!’ that hits the street in May this slab of jarring punk rock down under style will have you throwing your own G’day digger parties. Uncompromising and throughly infectious once it burrows in like the finest ear worms do May can’t come quick enough. Tour buddies with Amyl and the sniffers and The Chats its just another no brainer fo rus here at Singles Club HQ. Punk as fuck and none of em give a four xxxx just get a load of the video and throw yourself around – Banger!

Tony Wright, Terrorvision frontman, proudly releases ‘Buried You Deeper’ on Graphite Records. 
Dark, vulnerable and desolate Buried You Deeper, is the first single from his forthcoming solo album, ‘The Anti Album’, out on October 7th


Buried You Deeper is a bit of a country and west Yorkshire kinda tune. Its roots are quite deep and dark and when I first wrote it I thought that it was maybe a bit too dark… So I changed the lyrics up a bit and hopefully gave it a twist/alternative that people can hear and not be disturbed by it. I’d say if folk know the real meaning behind it then they will find that but for the more light hearted amongst us then hopefully it’s just a cool little cowboy song.” explains Tony.

Filmed in Margate by Leigh Brookes, Tony is joined by Milly “my long suffering mate” who also plays keyboard in Terrorvision.
Along with ‘Buried You Deeper, The Anti Album’ features nine further songs and this truly honest record is the perfect manifestation of Tony Wright’s immutable wit, sadness, quiet anger and charm.


The Anti Album is available to pre-order in usual CD and vinyl, plus an exclusive limited edition red vinyl album, here: https://linktr.ee/Tony_Wright


To celebrate the release of the Anti Album, Tony will be playing 17 shows starting on the day of the album release at the Victoria Hall in Settle on 7th October and finishing on 6th November with a hometown gig at The Night Train in Bradford.


UK dates in full 

October 

Fri 7th Settle Victoria Hall

Sat 8th Scunthorpe Cafe Indie
Sun 9th Todmorden Golden Lion 

Tue 11th Edinburgh  Bannermans

Wed 12th Glasgow  The Hug and Pint

Fri 14th Isle Of Man Colby Glen

Wed 19th Scarborough Vibe

Thu 20th Hull Welly

Fri 21st Doncaster Imperial 

Sat 22nd Blackpool Compass Cafe

Wed 26th Hertford Corn Exchange

Thu 27th Plymouth  Junction

Fri 28th Newport Le Pub

Sat 29th Stafford  The Ship Aground 

November 

Thu 3rd  Milton Keynes The Crauford Arms 

Fri 4th Wolverhampton The Giffard Arms

Sun 6th Bradford  The Night Train

  
Tickets available from https://linktr.ee/Tony_Wright

www.tonywright.net

Pic credit: Matthew Sturgess

It’s been a strange 18 months for everyone, the lack of live music has knocked all  us music fans sideways. Looking back I started going to gigs at the age of 14 and don’t think I’d gone a month at most without seeing someone somewhere in the country. Couple that with Artists struggling to get vinyl pressed, and you’d think in this Tory led new world order, our Boris would have got all he ever wanted a populace without guidance, lost and looking for some respite.

 

Now as we step gingerly out into this new normal of Lateral flow testing, temporary restrictions and venue numbers up and down like yo yo’s depending on muddied guidance and the latest risk assessment, its great to see the chinks of light coming through, and some blinding new releases coming forward starting with this one From Ferocious Dog aptly titled “The Hope”.

 

I’ve caught Ferocious dog live a few times, usually standing in the shadows of the Levellers, last time being on the Anniversary of the classic Levelling the Land LP, and in fairness, they knocked me sideways, more of an edge than the Levellers, more to say and everything coming from a punk led heart.

 

With “The Hope they have stepped right out of that shadow, and what screams at you is a band hitting their stride. There are a number of tracks here, that just stop you dead, you just have to listen!! First single from the LP “Pentrich Rising” hammers home how powerful a live standard this is going to be, while “Victims” spirals inwards drawing you in, on point and right on the button. While next up “Broken Soldier”, hits you full in the face, lyrically superb, with The Taliban introduction sample as apt for present times as anything I’ve ever heard, coupled with the damage done within modern warfare.

 

This light and dark shades are present throughout but when there’s a message, a nod of knowing its tracks like “Khatyn” that hit the hardest, (look up the Khatyn massacre). As the LP moves through these stages of Dark and Light, what stands out is a band that are confident, not to these ears drawing comparisons to The Levellers or New Model Army anymore, this is one dog that is really starting to bare its teeth, a band for now as the music scene begins to re-awaken, relevant, in your face and kicking against the Lethargy induced by a Tory government and the Tim Martins of the world. “Punk Police” tears out of the speakers, guitar led, followed out of the traps by “Slayed the traveller” Closer “Parting Glass” invokes the Pogues at their peak, you can almost see Shane MacGowan, draped around the microphone, but it definitely beats its own Gallic Drum, with a very different vocalist.

 

One of the LP’s of the year so far.

Buy Here

Author: Nev Brooks

 

 

Another day another Wildhearts album to review (it seems like only a few months since the last album and subsequent follow-up EP, even though it wasn’t) Along with a UK tour that actually tours the UK, imagine that folks. Anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah, The Wildhearts.  A great British institution in their own right, never mind if Motorhead moved next door and killed your lawn imagine what your lawn would look like with these likely lads rocking up and sonically blasting this bad boy out – every blade of grass on your garden and any other surrounding properties would be gary gonners.   It’s time for them to mellow out and do an album of ’21st Century Love Songs’ or something like that (Not!) One look at the superb artwork might be a glimpse into whats coming.

’21st Century Love Songs’ is opened by the title track and like a pack of rabid dogs, they’re all over you, barking and straining at the leash – kicking the living crap out of your ears before you have time to get comfortable and settle into the bloody record. Sonically speaking, it’s a full-frontal assault but the melodies herein are lush and totally at odds with the aural barrage you’re getting from the thunderous rhythm section and dart attacks off Ginger and CJ who, let’s be honest, are on fuckin’ fire!  I’m not kidding its like hearing an album in one song – like a rollercoaster of riffs and melodies that feel like your head is going to explode you wonder where the hell this is heading and can it be sustained.  A fantastic opener and a real statement of intent – Ladies and Gentlemen you are now experiencing the new Wildhearts record, and its intense, beautiful, wonderfully loud and fuking exciting. Welcome!

 

Now get ready for some serious Wildhearts Bop with some fine bass runs that make your feet move on ‘Remember These Days’ with some great harmonies and gang vocals which the band does so well. The song twists and turns throughout filling every corner with music like an explosion of colour.

Take a sharp breath folk because the grunt on ‘Splitter’ is off the scale.  The mix is nuts with the lead vocals way down and competing like battling tops for space which adds to the controlled chaos that’s burrowing into your head.  fan-fucking-tastic tune and one that will go down well live as the slide guitar spins round and dive bombs through the mix and this is only a few songs deep.

If you thought the band touched on heavy on ‘Renaissance Men’ then hold on to your knickers because ‘Institutional Submission’ hacks and slashes like a frenzied killer. It’s like early Mayhem but done by big boys who aren’t wet behind the ears as it goes in for the kill with an underlying melody that Ginger does so so well as it drops and takes a breather.  I think it was Wayne who said intensity intensified he must have been onto something because that’s what this is.  Wildhearts disciples will love it and as the song meanders back up to speed.

We’ve all seen the video for ‘Sleepaway’ right?  now I went to boil the kettle at the start and even though the neighbours closed their curtains I thought it sounded like a Who track with a swinging pair of bollocks and plenty of clout but that might just be me but it has a bit of boogie in it as well, great track.

It would be fair to say that ‘You Do You’ is the closest the record gets to what one might consider a Wildherts album track.  Nothing wrong with it at all and I’m sure it will grow and melodies and lyrics will jump out on me but its sandwiched between the two tracks that I’d already heart dozens of times so I might revisit it in due course but ‘Sort Your Fucking Shit Out’ is a belter and a song I loved the first time I heard it.  Big chug on the riff-o-la and some terrific vocals to be fair.  As far away from the grunt and rowdiness elsewhere perfected on the album but here is what one might describe as a toe-tapper.

 

With three tracks left the band crank it up with some filthy guitars cranking out the riffs on ‘Directions’ it’s like showing off the way the band goes from heavy as a breeze block to the head to lush melody and back again with a change in tempo and direction like twisting the top off a pop bottle and then the fizz gushes – well, that ‘Directions’ that is.  Calling the penultimate track ‘A Physical Exorcism’ it’s pretty much what you’ve just experienced my friends an exhausting, mentally draining, emotionally uplifting, life-affirming, joyous listening experience courtesy of these four Wildhearts bastards.  Rock and Roll can be all things to all men and women but it’s fantastic that we still have functioning bands like The Wildhearts who just keep rolling with the punches and churning out albums that challenge and bring happiness and something to look forward to in tough times.  A cheeky smile here, a wink there and some heads down go for it loud Rock and Roll bringing it all together.  Thank the lord for the Wildhearts and another most excellent album.

Buy Here

 

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Author: Dom Daley

On 18th June The Wildhearts released a brand new single ‘Remember These Days‘ before their appearance at the Download Pilot Festival on Sunday.
Remember These Days‘ is the first single taken from the album ’21st Century Love Songs’, out September 3rd  2021 via Graphite Records

Sometimes inspiration strikes at exactly the right point in time, Ginger explains “I was sitting blind drunk one afternoon, looking at a picture of me and CJ on stage having a great old time. It had been a year since we’d played live and I started to miss it even more. So I started writing this song.
I never write while drunk. I’ve probably my done it half a dozen times in my life. But the picture got me all emotional, thinking about how much fun we used to have, even in the ‘bad old days’. 
It made me want to document these times because who knows, maybe we’ll look back on these times and remember only the good things?”
To purchase / stream ‘Remember These Days’ go  https://ffm.to/rememberthesedays
With The Wildhearts classic line up of Ginger, CJ, Ritchie and Danny still holding strong this creatively brilliant band who helped change the landscape of British rock through the 90’s are showing no sign of slowing down.
21st Century Love Songs is the follow up to Renaissance Men, their highest charting album since 1994’s P.H.U.Q, which debuted at number 11
To celebrate the release of  21st Century Love Songs’ The Wildhearts play an 18 date UK tour. The tour will start in Cardiff on Friday 3rd September and concludes in Southampton on Saturday 25th September.
Their incendiary live performances over the last few years have seen the band’s popularity hit new heights as The Wildhearts continue to cement their reputation and legacy as one of the best bands the UK has ever produced.
Live 2021 dates in full 
Festivals
June 
20 Sun Download Pilot Festival
July
17 Sat Ramblin Man Fair, Maidstone
25 Sun Steelhouse Festival, Ebbw Vale
29 Thu Wacken Open Air 2021, Wacken, Germany
30 Fri Rock and Blues Custom Show, Derby
31 Sat Cleethorpes Rocks, Cleethorpes
August
13 Fri Bloodstock
21 Sat Razernij Festival, Antwerp, Belgium
Headline Tour 
September 
3 Fri Tramshed, Cardiff
4 Sat SWX, Bristol
5 Sun Phoenix, Exeter
6 Mon Cheese & Grain, Frome
8 Wed Academy 2, Manchester
9 Thu Electric Ballroom, London
10 Fri Waterfront, Norwich
11 Sat Chalk, Brighton
12 Sun Madding Crowd, Bournemouth
15 Wed KKs Steel Mill, Wolverhampton
16 Thu Guildhall, Gloucester
17 Fri Boiler Shop, Newcastle
18 Sat Stylus, Leeds
20 Mon Mac Arts, Galashiels
21 Tue Tolbooth, Stirling
22 Wed The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
24 Fri Foundry, Sheffield
25 Sat Engine Rooms, Southampton
October
1 Fri Great British Alternative Festival, Skegness
2 Sat MK11, Milton Keynes
15 Fri Roadmender, Northampton
16 Sat Cornwall Rocks, Cornwall
November 
5 Fri MMH Radio 10 Year Birthday Bash, Birmingham
11 Thu Hedworth Hall, South Shields
12 Fri Monsterfest,  Inverness
To purchase tickets please go Here
http://www.thewildhearts.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TheWildhearts

Bath Komedia was a new venue for the intrepid travellers from South Wales but we love an adventure and tonight we had to get there on time to catch the support of Janus Stark seeing as we’ve heard the new album and loved what we heard and wanted to see if Gizz Butt could knock it out live. After negotiating the Bath one-way system and eventually finding a place to park by the time we reached the venue the band had already taken the stage and were knocking out songs old and new.  they reminded me of a punkier Eureka Machines and Gizz is something of a guitar players guitarist with a great sound in the venue they were entertaining and engaging and the catchy power pop/rock sounded great. these were the perfect opener for The Wildhearts and ending the set with the best track off ‘Great Adventure Cigar’ was a bonus because ‘Every Little Thing Counts’ is just about spot on.  I can look forward to hearing a lot more of the band when the album is released hopefully in December.

When it was announced that The Wildhearts were adding another string of dates and that there would be the Renaissance Men tour part 2 I couldn’t wait to get another slice of loud rock’n’roll live-action after catching the boys in Cardiff on the first leg of the tour earlier in the year.

The nearest venue to me was the Komedia in Bath with a couple of hundred miles round trip (on a school night) I planned my latest Wildhearts action. Around 9:15 pm I heard the opening guitar riff to the lead-off track to the bands latest great ep the title track ‘Diagnosis’ and bam the band were on stage and away we go. 

The band are tight and as the glorious noize of ‘Diagnosis’ comes to an end the band launch into another Renaissance men soon to be live classic ‘let em go’ and this anthem gets the Bath crowd jumping and singing along with Cj taking lead vocals on the bridge doing the Frank Turner vocals.  Next up we have that all-time classic hearts tune ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ and Ginger is on top form with some blistering guitar work and those rough yet melodic vocals of his soaring loud and proud. Some familiar favourites such as ‘Sick Of Drugs’ is welcomed and this night is turning out to be a show and a half as both band and crowd are right up for it in the confines of a really nice tight venue tucked away in the narrow streets of Bath.

‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ sees the white album being represented and this leads us into ‘My Kinda Movie’.  Ginger announces that each band member is taking his turn in picking a track to play live and tonight’s choice is by Danny and what has mister McCormack picked, well he’s treated us to a P.H.U.Q. b-side the stunning “Mindslide” and that throbbing bass of his leads us into a rare treat and what seeing The Wildhearts on form is all about. ‘Caffeine Bomb’ is up next and this fast as lightning track showcases what a machine of a drummer Ritch Battersby is and why he is one of my favourite drummers and boy does he hit those skins hard.

‘Dislocated’ is greeted by this reviewer with a huge smile on my chops as this is my favourite track off ‘The Renaissance Men’ album and the guys blast it out with some real punk rock fury.  Great also to hear “Jackson Whites” being blasted through again at a furious pace. A real fan favourite is “Red light green light” and already this set is proving to be an excellent reason to venture out on a School night for a shot of Rock and Roll – could this night get any better?

‘Vanilla Radio’ has the Bath crowd singing “where’s my Elvis” in unison and that leads us into the 5th ‘Renaissance Men’ track of the night ‘The Fine Art Of Deception’ which is another Ginger penned classic. Tonight seems like the night for the lesser-known rare track getting a good airing as we are treated to ‘Action Panzer’ Nestled in with all the classics you’d expect to hear at a Wildhearts show.

The lights come up and with that the band walk off to a thunderous roar of appreciation from the crowd  – you’d think there was a couple of thousand in tonight by the sounds of them and shouts of “more, more, more” and as if by magic the boys walk back onstage and launch into the mighty riff of ‘Greetings From Shitsville’ and this crowd goes nuts.  Part two of the encore we are treated to the icing on this particular party cake as the band unleash the stunning earth vs b-side ‘Beautifull Thing You’ and indeed it is a glorious racket of loud harmonic beauty. It’s not quite done yet as there is one last song of the night and the fan fav ’29 X The Pain’ and with both band and fans singing their hearts out it is truly a great end to a special night.

All that is left for this reviewer to say is if you can get to a Wildhearts show please do as the band are on top form and are tight and clearly enjoying themselves and you will not be disappointed. Bring on round three and the doubleheader of the Backyard Babies slugging it out with the in-form and on fire Wildhearts Bring it on! 2020 is shaping up nicely if tonight was anything to go by.

 

Author: Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper

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‘Diagnosis’ Review Here

Tour Dates for 2020 Here 

‘Renaissance Men’ Review Here

 

Hey Wildhearts fans, are you feeling lucky right now?  With a critically acclaimed album in the bag, half their discography remastered and available on vinyl, and more live action than a Pornhub subscription can give you, The Wildhearts are giving their fans everything they desire and more. Did I mention the excellent solo album Ginger just dropped in the middle of all this action? It’s called ‘Headzapoppin’, you should buy it right now.

Well, if your bank account has recovered, even just a little bit, do you think you can handle splashing out a bit more? Because Ginger and co seem to think you can!  How about a six track mini album with 5 brand new songs to back up lead track ‘Diagnosis’, one of the most well received songs from the recent ‘Renaissance Men’ long player. You can even purchase this beast on 10” splatter vinyl if you are that way inclined. Are you salivating yet?

 

If you are reading this then you have probably heard ‘Diagnosis’ more times than you’ve had hot dinners already, it’s a keeper! The building AC/DC riffage that blasts into a gargantuan diatribe, aimed at a system that has fucked so many over. Totally relatable to those who struggle, from the heart of a writer who is struggling more than most of us can imagine. With the anthemic “You’re not an animal” refrain, it has already become a live favourite and it just had to be a single.

 

But let’s concentrate on the new songs shall we.

 

‘God Damn’ sees CJ take lead vocals for a power pop-tastic three and a half minute earworm that wouldn’t sound out of place on one of his own solo albums. Chugging guitars and sneering vocals lead the way. With a signature slow/fast  rifforama section, and enough time signature changes than most metal bands manage on a whole album, it’s an epic burst of sleazy noise, something The Wildhearts do so well. Guaranteed to hit the spot, is there a song more aptly titled right now?

With magnificent, urgent drums from Rich Battersby and killer hooks aplenty, ‘A Song About Drinking’ is a 2 minute incendiary burst of noise. Anthemic gang vocalisin’, fist pumping “woah-woahs” and punky melodies aplenty, all the boxes are ticked. What’s not to like here?

‘Could It Be Just Like The First Time’ starts with the chorus refrain. I feel like I’ve heard it before, and you will too, but Ginger always has that knack right? This is the one out of the five that will imbed itself in your subconscious, grab on tight and refuse to leave.

I wonder if bassist Danny McCormack had a hand in ‘That’s My Girl’? It sure has a rumbling Yo-Yo’s feel to it. Distorted power chords rule with a catchy chorus to boot. It’s all leather jackets, greased back hair and attitude.

Uneasy on the ears and not for the fainthearted, closing song ‘LOCAC’ is a wall of distortion and disjointed riffage that would not sound out of place on ‘Endless Nameless’ or even a Mutation album come to think of it. Brutal heaviness that could possibly make your ears bleed at the right sound level.

 

It’s well known in certain circles that The Wildhearts are the kings of the b sides. How many bands have (or even could) release an album of non-album tracks that can stand tall against their best albums? Oasis have one, anyone else? Well, The Wildhearts could release 3, that is the quality I’m talking about.

And that same quality overflows on this mini album that clocks in at just over 20 minutes. Short, sharp and no fucking about. That seems to be Ginger’s outlook for The Wildhearts in 2019 and who are we to argue? As he has just released the perfect companion to ‘Renaissance Men’ and given his fan base yet another essential release before the year draws to a close.

Buy Diagnosis Here 

Author: Ben Hughes

 

It’s been 10 long years since The Wildhearts released their last album ‘Chutzpah!’ If there was any justice in the world it would’ve been a massive hit album for them, and Ginger would have the recognition he deserves as one of the UK’s most prolific and constantly creative songwriters.

But lady luck has never shone down on The Wildhearts, she just threw shit in their general direction. Drugs & alcohol, in-band fights and shitty record labels got in the way. Even though they scraped the top 20 and featured on TOTP multiple times, sadly it was never meant to be. It would seem that sometimes, even the greatest bands are destined to never make it.

But the Wildhearts have a legacy, a fucking great musical legacy that will never be erased whatever the future holds. While they disbanded after ‘Chutzpah!’ (for the umpteenth time), there have been sporadic reunion gigs and anniversary tours. And with original bassist Danny McCormack back where he rightfully belongs, the classic line-up of The Wildhearts entered the studio to record the album many fans thought they would never get to hear.

It seems you can’t keep a good band down, and The Wildhearts are back in your face, fighting fit and stronger than ever before.

 

The metallic riff to ‘Dislocated’ blasts open the album like ‘Live Wire’ opened ‘Too Fast For Love’. Did I just reference Motley Crue in a Wildhearts album review? Yes, I did! But that’s where the resemblance ends, as ‘Dislocated’ goes off on a musical tangent to itself, as The Wildhearts are well known to do. Tackling mental health and alienation, the lyrics are spat with the vitriolic, reckless abandon of a man literally teetering on the edge of sanity.

Fuck me, that chorus! It builds and builds and keeps on giving. Then there’s the welcome return of Danny’s unmistakable bass rumble, as much a part of The Wildhearts sound as anthemic choruses and crunchy guitars. ‘Dislocated’ is a song for the outcasts in an age where Ginger’s lyrics are more relevant than ever.

Next, we are straight into ‘Let ‘em Go’. Classic, anthemic Wildhearts at their finest. A football terraced style anthem with an uplifting chorus you will be singing on first listen, and long after the needle has lifted. “Let ‘em go, let the shit-filled rivers flow”  the whole band chant, as you wonder how you have survived for so long without this melody in your head. A future live favourite for sure. No one does it better…no one.

The following title track is a weird one, not sure about this yet. The almost tribal beats and backing chants bring to mind the film ‘Madagascar’ for some reason. With a cool riff and a great euphoric chorus, it’s a song about the band being back in your face, and hopefully, they are here to stay.

‘Fine Art Of Deception’ is a song I first heard Ginger and CJ play acoustic at The Fulford Arms in York last year. This is a tune that could have been lifted from the ‘555%’ sessions, I feel. The “bullshit” refrain stands out as pure Wildhearts fodder though and harks back to their early days.

‘Diagnosis’ builds on an AC/DC style riff before morphing into classic Wildhearts crunchy goodness. Air guitar and goosebumps (see Pilo Erection below) come hand in hand as Ginger and CJ’s vocal harmonies intertwine to create the magic we love and crave from The Wildhearts. It builds to a euphoric, killer chorus set to be a mainstay at hot and sweaty future gigs.

 

‘My Kinda Movie’ will kick off side two (if you are listening on cassette or vinyl). It comes on like a classic Wildhearts B side, and we all know how good those are, right? A metallic, staccato riff makes way for intense, urgent drums from probably the most underrated drummer in rock music, Ritch Battersby. Chugging, dampened guitars match the rhythm of the verse that makes way for a gang vocal chorus, a wild as fuck wah-wah solo and a section that goes up the musical scale again and again. Holy shit, that’s a workout!

‘Little Flower’ is again, a song I heard previewed acoustic last year and one of the most instant songs on the album. CJ penned I believe, it certainly has his knack of pop sensibilities stamped all over it. A hook as catchy as anything out there, it will bury deep into the subconscious on first listen and threaten never to leave, job done.

That signature Wildhearts dampened, crunchy regimental riffage introduces ‘Emergency (Fentanyl Babylon)’. The subject matter is pretty self-explanatory, here Ginger even name-checks Tom Petty and Prince before laying waste with a brutal chorus that will incite the listener to shout the “emergency” refrain and bang their heads until the beats abruptly cease. Glorious in all the right places.

‘My Side Of The Bed’ is disjointed riff-o-rama in god knows what time signature, with sublime vocal harmonies that suck you in on first listen. There is so much going on in this crazy song it’s hard to describe, but imagine Cheap Trick jamming with Primus for starters. So much love for this tune already.

The “one-two-fuck you” count in signals the closing track ‘Pilo Erection’. Crunch, bang, wallop! We are up and running for the final time as the band get a full-on workout, riff after riff and chanting gang vocals aplenty, a powerhouse performance especially from Ritch as his skills are tested to the max.

If you are wondering what Pilo Erection means, Google the fucker like I did! Let’s just say The Wildhearts give me a Pilo Erection everytime and you can quote me on that.

 

The arrival of a new Wildhearts album has always been an event. Call me biased, but it makes me realise that most other bands pale in comparison and it has been so long that I nearly forgot that!

I was expecting this album to be a cross between ‘Earth Vs’ and ‘Chutzpah!’, yet surprisingly it sounds like neither, in fact, it sounds like no other Wildhearts album that has come before it.

Like ‘Fishing For Luckies’ and the self-titled ‘White Album ‘, ‘Renaissance Men’ takes multiple listens to sink in and every time I listen, something new jumps out. My favourite track is changing on a daily basis and even though it’s early days, I can’t imagine I will hear anything better this year.

Hopefully, this is as much a resurgence as a renaissance and we can expect more from this band in the near future. But for now, bask in the glory that is the new Wildhearts album and come back in 6 months when it’s all sunk in and tell me how great it is.

 

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Author: Ben Hughes

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