Released By: Round Records
Release Date: 12th February 2016
Genre: Ginger Wildheart (because.. well… he’s a Genre)
01 Down The Dip.
02 Honour (featuring Courtney Love)
03 El Mundo (Slow Fatigue)
04 The Last Day Of Summer.
05 Only Henry Rollins Can Save Us Now.
06 The Pendine Incident.
07 Do You?
08 If You Find Yourself In London Town.
09 Toxins & Tea.
10 No One Smiled At Me Today.
12 Don’t Lose Your Tail, Girl.
I wanted to start this review and end it in one sentence, “go and buy this, it’s fucking awesome”. Job done I said to myself as I switched the laptop off and went off to pour myself a very well deserved beer having written such a poignant commentary.
Time of course makes me a wiser person (and the first beer also helped) and I now return to the review to do it the sort of justice it actually deserves.
To bring you, dear reader, right up to date with the musical output from Ginger Wildheart is to look at what took place in the year preceding the release of “Year of the Fan Club”. The title of the album is very apt as it describes the period perfectly. It represents another attempt by Ginger to deliver new music every month to the fans (something attempted several years ago on CD that saw 5 releases instead of the anticipated 12). This time everything worked a charm, 36 new songs delivered via an online fan club called G*A*S*S (Ginger Associated Secret Society). In addition fans \ subscribers also received 2 demo \ alternative tracks every month as well which meant some 58 songs as part of the basic subscription. Of the 36 new tracks, this album delivers Ginger’s choice of the top 12 and is essentially the commercial release for those that missed out first time around.
Anyone that has followed his output over the last few years with 555%, Hey! Hello!, Mutation (1&2) and Albion will know that quality is never in question. Does therefore a 12 song release, taken from the original 36 give the listener a true sense of what this all represents? In short, Yes! I’ve set a playlist of these 12 from the original 36 and it’s the perfect representation of all that is good about the year that G*A*S*S delivered something new to your mailbox every month.
Energised opener ‘Down The Dip’ is followed by ‘Honour’ which garnered a lot of circulation online when the video was released thanks to the partnership with Courtney Love. The vocal duet works perfectly and immediately brings something new to the Wildheart catalogue with its rousing chorus. The horns on ‘El Mundo (Slow Fatigue)’ along with the almost marching band beat that underpins the song lull you into a false sense of security before we get some of the fuzz and distortion that Ginger loves to use, thrown into the mix at the half way mark. Never one to rest on his laurels, Ginger then throws in a bit of poppy folk rock on ‘The Last Day of Summer’. With its Southern, piano driven Americana verses it really is the perfect breezy summer song which then pauses before we are presented with ‘Only Henry Rollins Can Save Us Now’. Amps up to 11, pedal to the metal and full steam ahead, this song has elements of the Hey! Hello! track ‘How I Survived The Punk Rock Wars’. It’s another classic Ginger moment that warrants listening intently to the lyrics as he really knows how to tell a story and this is no exception. Without giving too much away, Henry was approached for advice and what he said was well….. for you to find out. ‘The Pendine Incident’ offers more of the same as ‘The Last Day of Summer’ and has already become a firm favourite with Ginger’s loyal legion of fans.
The highlight of the album for me and the one track I was desperate to see had made the cut for the final 12 is ‘If You Find Yourself In London Town’. Premiered at Camden Rocks festival in 2014, I fell in love with song from that moment and it remains one of my personal favourites from Ginger’s entire catalogue. Haunting, emotional, lingering and a reflection of the impact London had on me when I first moved there some 25 years ago, the song is four minutes of perfection.
Never let it be said that humour cannot find its way into a Ginger song as ‘Toxins & Tea’ looks at the state of the country under the current government and if you want to understand why Ginger thinks “Russell Brand is a WANKER!!!”, well look no further. No Ginger Wildheart release would be complete without some aspects of the more extreme music, noise and distortion that Ginger loves and likes to experiment with. This is found on closer ‘Don’t Lose Your Tail Girl’, a nine minute epic that begins with an intro straight out of a John Lennon songbook before a steady descent into madness and chaos at the two minute mark. Musical styles dip in and out but somehow the man’s magic manages to join it all together seamlessly. This song more than any shows the versatility of Ginger’s songwriting capabilities and fully warrants the comment above that he IS his own genre. If the above isn’t enough to tempt you, the G*A*S*S club is still available for subscription at:
Subscribers will get access to podcasts, Q&A’s, personal diary entries, film reviews along with a slew of exclusive merchandise options and a stunning array of artwork which changed for each of the 12 month’s releases.
“go and buy this, it’s fucking awesome”.
Written by: Adrian Hextall
Ratings: Adrian 10/10