THE WILDHEARTS - Renaissance Men
June 10, 2019, a year ago
With the demise of Motorhead, The Wildhearts claim the title of the UK's most outspoken mainstream rock/metal/punk outfit. Since their Earth Vs. debut, Ginger & Co. have hoisted a two finger salute towards the establishment, while cranking out a noisy amalgam of the aforementioned musical styles. Never making a real dent on this side of the Atlantic, a cult act rarely goes out of fashion, and as such, can do whatever they want (Like they'd do anything other than that, anyway!). Which means, the ten tracks offer a mash-up of styles, from crashing Beatles harmonies to storming metallic “Dislocated” opener.
There's no excess on these lean butchered chops, most devoured in three minutes or less. The staccato riffing “Dislocated” isn't without a melodic streak, even with the purposefully gruff and nearly over modulated vocals. At 5:52, it's the album's lengthiest cut, more than double a punky “Emergency (Fentanyl Babylon)”, with its Michael Jackson reference. The stop-start new wave self-help sing-along “Let Em Go” (“the shit-filled rivers, let em flow”) wouldn't be out of place on that major label issued debut. As evident above, the lyrics are as biting as ever, peppered with expletives, including “Fine Art Of Deception”, where each line is punctuated by a concluding chorus of “bullshit!” Like the lead track, “Diagnosis” is nearly six minutes long (the only other to approach that length) and equally tunefully aggressive: Read 'em & weep, you're asleep at the wheel. The system is fucked and your treatment's corrupt...You are not the diagnosis. You are not the prescription”. There's also Joseph 'Elephant Man' Merrick's infamous “I'm not an animal. I'm a human being” quote.
Speaking of films, there's a tongue in cheek (aren't they all?) “My Kinda Movie”, a speedster which jokes, “If this was a video, I'd get my money back, pirate this on VHS and spend the rest on crack. Back when I was young and too far gone for turning back, you won't like me, if you knew me.” The shouted (almost fab 4 on LSD bullhorn abruptness) “Little Flower” is thankfully over in just 3:07. Rather disjointed intro to “My Side Of The Bed”, but eventually straightens itself and firmly takes aim at society, with lots of Brit cultural targets. Opening count-off on “Pilo Erection” is “1, 2, fuck you!” The Wildhearts, in a nutshell. Recommended, to poke the world in its eyes.