Label : Round Records
Genre: Pop Punk Rock
Release Date: September 23 2016
All Around The World
This Ain’t Love
Glass of Champagne
Loud And Fucking Clear
Can’t Stand You (Hurting Me)
Let’s Get Emotional
A History of Lovers
Fans of Ginger Wildheart’s Hey!Hello! project had wondered if this, the second release from the band would ever see light of day. The events leading up to the eventual release of the album saw the album’s lead vocalist walk away from the band to pursue a music career in the U.S. on the eve of a national U.K. tour. The whys and wherefores are known to a select few and the rumours and speculation are the subject of legend. Either way the finished version of the HHT! album has been completely overhauled. Gone is original lead single ‘Automatic Love’, as too is the cover of one of Ginger’s G.A.S.S. tracks, ‘Don’t Stop Loving The Music’. Also departing is the rather forgettable ‘Little Piggy’ and the replacements along with re-recorded, re-worked, re-written original tracks now form the basis of this, the official release that will finally emerge, pale and blinking into the light.
To quote a lyric from ‘Kids’, Ginger and the rest of Hey! Hello! Have been “sneaky little motherfuckers”. The last that fans had heard from Ginger was that, following a run of auditions for a new singer, no decision could be made and that Ginger would handle lead vocals himself. “Fair enough!” muttered the collective masses and they settled back, going about their daily lives awaiting the release of the final product. After all Ginger sang lead vocal on all his solo work and the Wildhearts albums so why the hell not, right?
Wrong. The S.L.M.F. has only gone and pulled in multiple female singers to provide both lead and backing vocals across the album. As such, what listeners will hear really does present Hey! Hello! as they are supposed to be. The official word is ‘various female vocalists’ in the line up with Ai providing the majority of the backing vocals. However, after donning the deerstalker, lighting the pipe and roping in the assistance of our very own Watson [Facebook], we can confirm that some (if not all) of the lead vocals are provided by Cat Southall (the most recent live face of the band), Eloise Kerry, Tina V (of VHYes) and long time collaborator, Givvi Flynn.
Although we have a good, if not definitive, indication of who’s singing on what, we’ll leave it to the listeners to speculate and argue about. We would suggest getting some popcorn in and donning a hard hat.
What of the music though? Having had the original, unreleased, version of HHT! on repeat play for some time now, the question of course remains as to whether it would be difficult to review a reworked version. Thankfully the new music, alternative arrangements and lyrics on the original tracks have delivered a fresh yet familiar album that warrants multiple listens to understand the feeling and emotion behind some of the songs.
First up is ‘All Around The World’, a classic slice of pop rock with an infectious hook that, along with the title / chorus immediately ensures the album hits the ground running.
‘This Ain’t Love’ follows and is the first of the reworked tracks. A slightly different arrangement sees some of the instrumentation that gave the track a unique feel removed to allow the powerful lead vocal to drive the track.
Sailor’s 1976 song ‘Glass of Champagne’ is given the Hey!Hello! treatment before ‘Kids’ with some redone lyrics that work perfectly, forces the listener to get up and start dancing around the room such is the energy this track exudes.
If you’re listening to ‘Forever Young’ whilst drinking with like minded fans, it’s a safe bet that glasses will be raised as one as everyone sings in unison “Together…………” Emotional stuff.
‘Loud and Fucking Clear’, presents not surprisingly the opportunity for the band to hint at how they felt cheated when their former vocalist walked out on them. With Ginger taking the initial lead vocal, lyrics like;
“When your mind says it’s time to quit,
Packed your bags, said I’m out of it,
No maybe, just bye bye baby,
To the suckers that you left behind,
Now you know I ain’t the lasting kind,
See you later, in California,”
It continues with lines about building the band up and knocking them done by exiting when they least expected it …. And more. Listen carefully. If a picture can paint a thousand words, then the right words alone, laid bare for all to hear can paint a thousand pictures.
A reworked ‘Can’t Take You Hurting Me No More’ presents a new title in ‘Can’t Stand You (Hurting Me)’ which could again be a subtle dig but either way, it’s a great pumped up tune with some fantastic chord changes throughout.
‘Let’s Get Emotional’ sums up the album in full and contains some lighting fast, blisteringly good guitar work from The Rev with snotty punk attitude fuelled vocal delivery over the top of it all. A true highlight on the album.
‘A History of Lovers’ sees Ginger step up to the mic to take on lead vocals again. Once more the lyrical content may have deeper meaning if you’re looking for it but it could well be a case of seeing something that’s not there.
If you know ‘Body Parts’ from Ginger’s Albion release, well you don’t know this version. Suffice to say it will play well to the international market and gives long time fans something new to talk about.
The album closes with another new one, ‘Perfect’. Is it? Pretty much yes! Again, the lyrical content is fascinating and is, without a doubt, going to generate much discussion on fan forums. Hopefully this exercise has been a cleansing process for the band, that they can now forge ahead and continue to deliver the music the fans crave without quite so much drama.
A fascinating insight into the history of a band. Miss it at your peril.
Review by: Adrian Hextall