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The Wildhearts – Diagnosis mini album review

Release Date: October 4th 2019 

Genre: Power Punk Rock 

Label: Graphite Records


Line Up

Ritch Battersby: Drums \ Vocals

Ginger Widlheart: Vocals \ Guitar

CJ Wildheart: Vocals \ Guitar

Danny McCormack: Bass \ Vocals


Track Listing: 

  1. Diagnosis
  2. God Damn
  3. A Song About Drinking
  4. The First Time
  5. That’s My Girl
  6. LOCAC

Like a Number 51 bus, you wait for ages in the rain for one to to turn up and then immediately afterwards the floodgates open and it’s like you’ve won the lottery. The same can therefore be said for 2019 and new material from The Wildhearts. Having presented the hard rock album of the year (you can disagree but it’s OK for you to be wrong!) in ‘Renaissance Men’, the classic line up, the people’s choice, the ferocious four, the four musketeers, the ‘we might fall out again we might now but for know it’s all good’ band with the rabid fanbase that have been crying out for new material are back once more.

Taking the live fan favourite ‘Diagnosis’, a track that seems to have already reached ‘classic’ status in the eyes of the besotted (of which I am one) the band have released a six track ep / mini album which also contains a track sung by drummer Ritch Battersby, As a result The Wildhearts become one of those rare acts where all members have sung lead vocal at some point. It put them in the same bracket as bands like KISS of course but thankfully Ritch’s track is no ‘Beth’, although there is a girl mentioned in the song. More on that shortly.

The music though is what fans are itching to hear. A recent play of an unheard track from the EP on Planet Rock resulted in the fans trying to share podcasts \ links to experience the song in any way they could prior to the official release on October 4th. The disc opens as expected with the title track. A song looking at the state of the health service and the levels of support that people need, especially in relation to mental health. Do the Wildhearts offer a solution? No, but what they do is openly highlight the issue in the hope that someone that matters will sit up and take notice. It’s all about creating a swell of interest and watching the wave grow as it charges towards the shore. As a track, it is a shoe in for the live set at the moment and it’s difficult to play the others without a few pushes of repeat before moving on.

The first of the new tunes is ‘God Damn’, a song that makes you wonder how it could ever have been left off the main release such is the in-your-face impact of the track from the off. Again, the multi-vocal approach that CJ and Ginger offer with The Wildhearts makes the song sound like nothing anyone else is doing right now and reminds us just what an arsenal of songs this band can pen when they put their minds to it.

‘A Song About Drinking’, from a band like The Wildhearts…… that can’t be right surely? Mixing a little bit of ‘Caffeine Bomb’ with ‘Suckerpunch’ the track then moves onto ‘The First Time’, and ‘That’s My Girl’, the latter the Ritch Battersby lead vocal debut. Both tracks remain firmly in the A-side drawer with the latter containing some of the best driving bass riffs from Danny McCormack that I’ve ever heard him deliver. It might be Ritch’s song vocally but it’s Danny’s for the drive and energy. Excellent stuff.

The last track, ‘LOCAC’ will surprise, enthrall and annoy fans in equal measure. Angry, distorted, liberally dosed with fiery vocals from Ginger, the track is best described as extreme progressive punk, a genre I never knew existed. It forces you to listen to it, simply because of the angry distorted vocals. I think LOCAC stands for ‘Language of Cowards and Cunts’. Ginger snarls it early in the song and it’s repeated at different times throughout in a blink and you’ll miss it kind of way. With the current political climate and levels of uncertainty about our future out there, it feels like perhaps the most appropriate song on the disc. Sonically it’s a song that would have comfortably slotted onto ‘Endless Nameless’ and will easily cater to those fans who see that album as the peak of the band’s career.

In all 5 classic gems and a track that is liberally dosed with anger and frustration and is rather a lot of hard work to get into but is still undeniably The Wildhearts and we can’t ask for more than that!

Score 9/10

Reviewer: Adrian Hextall

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