The follow up to 2019’s ‘Renaissance Men’, sees Ginger Wildheart, CJ, Rich Battersby and Danny McCormack back in the studio to drop another tub-thumper of a record. The fact these guys are still doing this and writing at this level of brilliance needs to be heard.
“Renaissance Men reminded me of our first album, Earth Vs The Wildhearts. No one knew how the fans and press would receive it, so it was balls-to-the-wall rock and fuck ’em if they don’t like it. Going in again, for 21st Century Love Songs, naturally reminded me of our second album, PHUQ, where we got to flex our creative muscle, and show everyone what we’re capable of. This time we let the songs simmer until absolutely ready. We let the theme of the album present itself. There’s a subtlety to this album, something that people don’t often associate with The Wildhearts, and a sense of adventure in the unorthodox arrangements of the songs. This is where I become a fan of the band, when we ditch the rule book and just follow our instinct. Sarcastic, fun, angry, proud, experimental and belligerent, all wrapped up in a big ‘fuck you’, this is the sound of the band in their natural habitat. This time we’re in control.”
Opening the album in true Wildheart fashion ’21st Century Love Songs’ is foot to the floor rock. Loud guitars and the pounding of the drums and the rough well known vocals of Ginger and the gang. The album pretty much stays constant from there. I can already see the mosh pits forming for tracks Splitter with its rampaging verses and the rock n roll intro to A Physical Exocism.
There are glimpses of something slightly different, moments where the rock n roll backs off and the guys experiment with the formula. ‘Remember These Days’ a track full of whoa backing vocals and crushing rhythms that veers off onto a very spacey path with a soft breakdown with rolling vocals and stabbing guitars.
Institutional Submission is a collection of punk rhythms almost thrash guitar with moments of pure metal thats slows down in the middle for some traditional rock soloing. Else where on the album Sleepaway kicks off with some jangling riffs and thumping drums before taking off with the chorus. The future Wildhearts anthem ‘Sort Your Fucking Shit Out’, with its call to arms intro.
Starting off with a quote about fish, ‘You Do You’ is all rock with a glorious middle 8. ‘Directions’ starts off with another quote then gets down to business with a groovy riff. A few spins of the album and you start to get into each track underneath the huge rock chords and appreciate the subtlety of brilliant writing.
Final track ‘My Head Wants Me Dead’ has the distortion is turned down as the track has a gentler feeling as Ginger bears his soul. Tackling the demons of depression with the shout of “Save Me!” A surprisingly beautiful tinged ending to a brutal album with the highest caliber or rock riffing. Where we here a band that have gone through life’s turmoils and joyous occasions finding themselves battle scared and wiser but still full of humour and capable of writing some of the greatest pure rock tracks.
There’s no getting away from the fact this is a Wildhearts album. Huge riffs and mega group choruses all battered out with the same intensity the group have been performing with for decades now. The album starts with a bang and never stops. The tracks roll into each other and are guaranteed to make audiences go wild.
Check out the lyric video for Remeber These Days, below:
Purchase the album here