The small consolation fans of The Wildhearts can take from their favourite band being such a volatile unit, is I suppose, the amount of fantastic music the resulting side projects have produced every time a member leaves or, as is the case right now, the band goes on an extended hiatus.

Honeycrack, The Yo-Yo’s, The Jellys, Jackdaw4, Mutation, Silver Ginger 5, Sorry & The Sinatras, the list of quality just goes on and on.

There is one band however, that rose from the ashes the first time The Wildhearts crashed and burned that completely passed me by at the time, and that band is Grand Theft Audio.

I’m not exactly sure why this was, as formed around the creative nucleus of Wildhearts drummer Ritch Battersby, producer Ralph Jezzard and Realtv and Vive Finito frontman Jay Butler, the band quickly signed to London Records for their debut album ‘Blame Everyone’ and then found themselves pretty much everywhere, touring the world whilst also featuring on various movie and video game soundtracks. Then, almost as quickly as they burst onto the scene they were gone, as their label dissolved and the band fell apart.

Its two decades on from that implosion with Ritch and Jay now back in the ring with their second album ‘Pass Me The Conch’ that I first get to hear them, and praise the Gods (of Rock) that I’ve finally discovered them.

Effortlessly merging elements of electronica with balls out arena rock Grand Theft Audio sound like a whirlwind of positivity in a world that once again seems to love wallowing in the negative. Inspiring tracks like the gothic ‘Ruin Your Youth’, the anthemic ’Bad Instinct’, and the monstrous ‘Bury The Day’ take the bottom end thrust of The Wildhearts and give it a 21st Century twist, full to bursting point with melody and catchier than Covid-19 in a world that is now seemingly devoid of any conscience for its continued spread.

Elsewhere, there’s the pop-tastic rock/rap lead single ‘The Gods of Rock’ that has me thinking of Manson at his finest (that’s Marilyn not Charlie) and album opener ‘Scrub Up’ could very easily have been a long-lost GUN track written at the height of their 90s MTV fame.

It’s the darker and more reflective electronic tracks like ‘Trevor’ and ‘The Load’ that are the flipside of the Grand Theft Audio dynamic, and for me, this is where they stand apart from being just another rock band.  It’s exhilarating and genre smashing stuff!  

‘Pass Me The Conch’ is Grand Theft Audio’s statement of intent, its them taking control of their musical destiny and throughout the record’s ten tracks it sounds like they are loving every second of it.

Released on the 2nd of September with a twelve date tour starting a week later to help promote the release of the record, Grand Theft Audio will be sharing stages across the UK with CJ Wildheart and Scott Sorry and some might even be so bold as to say that a world without The Wildhearts is actually a musically much richer place to live in. ‘Pass Me The Conch’ is a leader not a follower- check it out!

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Author: Johnny Hayward

As my learned colleague, Craggy waxed lyrically when he reviewed ‘Honked’ the first of these Anniversary albums from Diamond Dogs, I went on a journey down the Rock and ROll highway and played every Diamond Dogs album released and the overriding thought I had was –  Damn this band was smoking hot when they got in that groove.

They were honking on the whole Faces early ’70s Stones vibe and they were killing it every time and the most important thing was they had the tunes to go with the swagger and if those five albums were my gift to the world I’d be so proud of my band and the songs we’d created. Its quite some collection and as the band aged like a good wine they changed taste but remained true to their roots and sound.

On reflection, it seems like yesterday the band were rolling into my small village and pitching up their amps in a restaurant at the rear of my local boozer on a Sunday night after having a show in the City cancelled they then proceeded to Rock the socks off the locals with a wonderful and impressive set. These sets are pressed on vinyl as well as CD and contain a plethora of bonus tracks (singles B Sides) to wrap up the tunes from that period in a perfect set.

As Your Greens Turn Brown: After the keys introduce the listener with a bit of ‘Bloodshot’ before kicking up a shitstorm in the shape of the fantastic no holds barred ‘Goodbye, Miss Jill’ even now it makes me smile a five-mile smile when the band kicks in and the harmonica starts honkin’.

The record ebbs and flows superbly with the highs being particularly high and when the band gets going man they sounded authentic and passionate.  The lulls when they’d kickback. Their blend of Hammond and Rock and Roll overdrive mixed with a few horns stabs here and there is timeless. Let the good times roll on the ballsy ‘Hardhitter’ and then they can drop a few gears as they venture off into Small Faces territory via ‘Singing With The Alleycats’ it’s easy to see how these guys got gigs with Punk rockers like the Damned or Rockers like The Cult and Nazareth when you hear the raw ‘Bite Off’ with its too fast to live riff and with that variety in mind you pick up the flavour of just how talented a songwriter Sulo is and he lives these songs and wears them on his sleeve you can’t bluff Rock and Roll this good which is why he attracted the likes of Darrel Bath and Steve Klasson into the fold.


The band were comfortable letting go and cutting loose as they were doing the jig is up country-tinged ‘Anywhere Tonight’ as they were doing the whole Thin Lizzy duel guitar kick-off that had songs like ‘Boogie For Tanja’ being so effortlessly good. Then when they needed to turn down the lights they could glide into ‘Yesterdays Nymph’ in one fell swoop. When Sulo took the mood down he has a wonderful tone on his voice and as far as taking on the Brits doing the whole R&B thing there’s no contest Diamond Dogs were more consistent than a lot of their contemporaries churning out albums of exceptionally high quality and this bad boy is right up there with the best of them and when your B Sides are as good as your A-Sides you know you’re onto something.

Fifteen songs of exceptional quality its like they once said Too much is never enough! Bring on the next one and I’ll get me filled up on more trips down memory lane and promise myself to play these records more often they deserve it and so do you – Buy it!


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Author: Dom Daley