The Wildhearts – “Renaissance Men”
Label: Graphite Records Ltd
Review: Dawn Osborne
Ten brand new songs. Ten years since their last album. Ten out of Ten for the results. Sometimes it pays to have a break and then get back together again and this would be an example of entirely that.
Perhaps the only thing that has got worse is the world around The Wildhearts and this has not escaped their attention in an appropriately themed, socially aware album. In many ways today’s Britain has a lot in common with the 70’s, when punk was born and many people were struggling. The anger that, despite being apparently still a major economic force in the world, the gap between rich and poor is getting wider and compassion is missing at all governmental levels. It’s something the band feel keenly about and they’ve channeled that anger and frustration into their work. Sometimes when you can do nothing about the world around you the only thing you can do is make or enjoy music and have a good time at concerts to forget about everything else. This has become even more acutely needed in a world where love is a disposable commodity and the online world isolates people (topics tackled by songs on the album) and concerts are one of the only places people can feel part of a group in a positive way… and unlike a football match, everyone wins.
The Wildhearts have always been therapy for their fans and this album is a fine continuation of that legacy. It doesn’t ignore people’s issues; it deals with these topics in the songs so people can confront their circumstances and develop survival techniques. The fact that Ginger lives with many of the same issues as his fans adds authenticity that money can’t buy.
Musically, the album combines everything you know and love about The Wildhearts. Uber-heavy music that fully engages heart and brain to combustion levels and genius pop sensibility that adds the crack. Ginger may have wished for an easier life, but the silver lining is that the grit in the oyster gives birth to the pearl and has resulted in him becoming one of the finest punk, pop, metal musicians and poets that the world has produced, helping the UK to punch above its weight yet again with homegrown talent. Thank god Ginger had such a hard life or he may have become Elton John.
And all this is all achieved by spinning a disc on a cold Monday morning in your front room…imagine what the songs will do in a live environment!? They are clearly perfect for a unifying experience of crushed bodies and wild abandonment that has become the signature of a Wildhearts’ gig where even those thinking about pensions can pogo like a person possessed. Get the album and let the music transport you to a better place.
2. Let ‘Em Go
3. The Renaissance Men
4. Fine Art of Deception
6. My Kinda Movie
7. Little Flower
8. Emergency (Fentanyl Babylon)
9. My Side Of The Bed
10. Pilo Erection