The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Wildhearts


The Wildhearts are one of the true undiscovered treasured of British Rock. They should rule the world’s airwaves but in this strange world we live in it is the far more contrived bands like Green Day that rule the roost.

The word Chutzpah literally means ‘insolence’ and is associated with someone who has overstepped the mark and is doing something that is not really acceptable by the world at large or the morality of the masses. But over the years Chutzpah has come to mean something a bit more David Lee Roth, a bit more audacious in a showbiz sort of way! You decide…

Ginger has a long history, first catching our attention with his stints in the Quireboys and The Throbs. He didn’t seem to stay anywhere too long and so began the Wildhearts... These days we are down to one solitary original member – Ginger, the band have gone through record company turmoils and their fair share of abuse and addiction. It is quite an interesting story that hopefully we will be able to delve into in detail at some stage, but how about I just review the album?

It seems like only minutes ago that The Great White Monkey – Ginger’s live unplugged CD hit the mailbox and this release by his all-plugged-in band comes hot on the heels. It really picks up where the last self-titled album from 2007 left off. For those of you out there who haven’t yet heard The Wildhearts or don’t know what to expect then prepare yourself for equal doses of melody, metal and punk…

The Jackson Whites that kicks off the album is everything I love about rock music and particularly The Wildhearts, dirty and melodic in equal measures with a driving riff and great sing-along chorus. I can imagine the guys having fun with this one on the UK Tour that kicks off shortly. Plastic Jebus the next track (yes Jebus but they sing Jesus), kicks things along, it’s a good enough track but doesn’t really click for me at the moment.

Before we go on it is worth mentioning that this CD is a little different in that for the first time Ginger appears to have allowed a slither of democracy to invade proceedings and usurp his benevolent dictatorship. Not only do we get other band members writing, we even get Scott singing on The Only One it’s a nice catchy pop tune and you can see that sort of song sitting comfortably in the chats, not that it is one of the better songs on the album – just a little more ‘fashionable’. The interesting aspect of this little experiment will be if they do land a hit with Scott and this ‘new sound’…

It’s when we drop into the next track John of Violence that for me we get to the real core of the matter, it’s classic Wildhearts. The next track You Are the Proof That Not All Women Are Insane is a mellow-proto-punk rock-out that hits the spot and lays down some lovely melodies. Could be another big single? Then it’s back to the dark, heavier side of the Wildhearts again for Tim Smith, which manages to meld Metallica and the Beatles...

I must admit the running order of the whole album works really well and keeps you on your feet with the dark and shade overlapping and intertwining. The piano on the intro to Low Energy Vortex gives way to cutting guitars, then traditional Wildhearts melodies, then a few seconds of thrash, then a catchy chorus: it just gives you a bit of an insight how these songs work – sometimes it works beautifully when all of the elements come together but sometimes it just misses. The worst case scenario though is that you get a nice catchy song rather than a classic.

You Took the Sunshine from New York reminds me of the Korgis (but that is entirely Ginger’s fault for doing that song on the Grievous Acoustical Behaviour CD). Now that may of may not be a bad thing, the jury is out, but it could be another chart-botherer especially in the UK.

The album closes with the wonderful Mazel Tov Cocktail and the thrashier Chutzpah! The former recalls classic Wildhearts again and is one of my favourite tracks; while the latter is a blend of Megadeth and an instrumental interlude from a 70’s Bowie concert! Great stuff to close out the album.

A very enjoyable album indeed, I’m not sure yet if it’s their best as some are claiming, but it’s certainly up there. Wildhearts albums are definitely growers though so maybe after a few more spins…If I am allowed one complaint it would be the running time, what is it these days with CDs running less that 40 minutes? I suppose sometimes that might be a good thing but in the case of the Wildhearts, you can never really have enough.

So if you like what you hear, then head on over to the Official Wildhearts website and check out the song they rejected for the new CD; The Snake, the Lion, the Monkey and the Spider which is available for free download. Umm, what can I say except it would have made the cut if I’d been picking - a bit of thrash, bit of QOTSA and some nice artificial monkey sounds (no animals were harmed…).

If you just have to get out there and see Ginger and the boys then as if by magic here are the UK Tour dates:

17-Sep-09 Brighton Concorde 2
18-Sep-09 Bristol O2 Academy
19-Sep-09 Nottingham Rock City
20-Sep-09 Norwich Waterfront
21-Sep-09 Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
22-Sep-09 Exeter Phoenix
24-Sep-09 Birmingham O2 Academy 2
25-Sep-09 Stoke-On-Trent The Sugarmill
26-Sep-09 Leeds Cockpit
27-Sep-09 Glasgow Garage
28-Sep-09 Newcastle upon Tyne O2 Academy
30-Sep-09 Manchester Club Academy
01-Oct-09 Shepherds Bush Empire