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The Wildhearts – Renaissance Men review

Genre: Power Punk Rock

Label: Graphite Records Limited

Release Date: May 3rd 2019

Members:

  • Ginger Wildheart, vocals\ guitar
  • CJ Wildheart, vocals \ guitar
  • Danny McCormack, vocals \ bass
  • Ritch Battersby , drums

Tracklisting:

  • Dislocated
  • Let ‘Em Go [Explicit] – With Frank Turner vocal cameo
  • The Renaissance Men
  • Fine Art of Deception [Explicit]
  • Diagnosis [Explicit]
  • My Kinda Movie [Explicit]
  • Little Flower
  • Emergency (Fentanyl Babylon)
  • My Side Of The Bed [Explicit]
  • Pilo Erection

It may be ten years since The Wildhearts last album ‘¡Chutzpah!’, an album that managed to divide opinion (as always) and it’s sibling ‘¡Chutzpah! Jnr’ but it’s ten years that has seen the individual band members remain firmly in the public eye with Ginger’s 555% triple vinyl campaign and subsequent releases, CJ’s three solo albums and Danny’s return to music with The Main Grains.

Having not spoken to each other for the best part of a decade, a reconciliation between Danny and Ginger resulted in a short appearance at one of Ginger’s Halloween Hootenanny shows in Wolves that ultimately resulted in Danny rejoining his former band mates and gradually starting to tour with them again.

The first show, a benefit event to help former band mate Scott Sorry with medical bills took place in Wakefield at Warehouse 23. The review of that momentous night and a hint of what was to come again is here:

Whatever happened that night did enough to trigger a full blown reunion, follow up tour and a triple whammy with Reef and Terrorvision that resulted in the Britrock Must Be Destroyed tour around the UK. The review from that show can be found here:

With all of the wheels in motion, new music started to be written with the Twitterverse often going into meltdown thanks to hints and snippets of thoughts and commentary from both Ginger and CJ. The end result of this hard work is a new album, aptly titled Renaissance Men, offering 10 new tracks, one for every year they’ve kept us waiting.

Clocking in at a healthy 38 minutes, perfect for one side of a C-90 cassette (they’re coming back) the album opens with ‘Dislocated’ , one of the longer tracks that pushes Ginger’s vocal range at opposite ends of the spectrum with yells, roars and screams aplenty yet filled with some silky smooth singing as well. Of all of the tracks on the album, it’s probably the one that captures The Wildhearts ability to sing anything, play anything and yet still make it sound perfectly like a Wildhearts song that the fans can latch on to.

If that’s not enough to make you immediately want to go and order a copy, how about this…. Dislocated is not the best track on the album. There, I said it. It may be the lead single, it may be either the band’s or the label’s choice of “here we are once again” but in actual fact some of the stand out moments that can out-Wildheart Dislocated come soon thereafter.

Let ‘Em Go , with a wonderful cameo from the fabulous Frank Turner offers the ultimate sing along. If 7″ singles were still a thing, this and Dislocated would make for perfect bedfellows and offer a Double A-Side that would see The Wildhearts back on Top of The Pops (if that too existed in any form other than the Christmas Special)

The title track, with some glorious harmonies opens with the most apt statement that the band could have ever penned. “So here we are again….” cries Ginger over the top of a riff to die for. It sums up the moment, the band and the anticipation from the fans perfectly. It’s also my favourite track on the album for the chant along elements of the track, the desire to sing the whole thing back to the band if and when they decide to play this live. The end of every line of lyric contains a choral backing vocal of a word ending in an ‘A’ , Godzilla, Gorilla, Tequila, they and more all get a mention along the way. It’s a genuine joy to behold.

Topical subjects are covered by a band performing with all of the youthful energy of the debut album but layered with the best part of 30 years of life experience as well. As Ginger put it in a recent interview with MGM, “we knew we were angry back then, we just didn’t know what we were angry about. We’re still angry today but at least now we know why!”

The Fine Art of Deception looks at the breakdown of relationships and how people struggle to openly admit ‘it’s over’, Diagnosis and Emergency (Fentanyl Babylon) deal with the state of the health service and the level of care people do (or in some cases do not) manage to receive. Topics we know are important to the band and fans alike.

Of the 10 songs on offer, nothing feels short of a perfect fit on the album. The 38 minutes flies past, all the songs including the slightly surreal Pilo Erection that closes the album lodge themselves firmly in the head and if you’re a fan I’ll be amazed if this doesn’t make your top 5 albums of the year.

If you’re not a fan or aware of the band, this is a perfect introduction to one of the best rock acts the U.K. has ever produced. Long live the renaissance.

Score: 10/10

Reviewed by Adrian Hextall

In support of the album , the band head out on tour in May at the following venues:

May Tour Dates:

3 Manchester Academy 2
4 Edinburgh Liquid Room
6 Cardiff Tramshed
7 Bristol SWX
9 London Brixton Electric
10 Norwich Waterfront
11 Leeds Stylus
12 Newcastle Riverside

Tickets can be obtained through the usual outlets and the band’s own webstore:

https://www.omerch.eu/shop/thewildhearts/tickets

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