Review: The Wildhearts – ‘Diagnosis’

THe WildheartsWith the plaudits received for this years ‘Renaissance Men’ album still ringing in their ears, The Wildhearts are not lying back to soak up the applause. With even more live dates looming on the horizon, Ginger, CJ, Danny and Ritch are treating their fans with the release of their new six track mini album – ‘Diagnosis’. It should come as no surprise that this is another cracking release from the (other) fab four, which continues where ‘Renaissance Men’ left off.

The title track will no doubt be familiar to fans, as it appeared on ‘Renaissance Men’, and here, it still sounds as angry (and as relevant) as it did five months ago. Ginger’s savage take on the mental-health crisis that is still criminally underfunded, and a system that “is fucked”, gets more across in a few minutes than a lifetime of bullshit from those controlling the “system”. It’s a vicious track which works well as the opener, the guitar sound that gradually builds until it explodes, is a monster.

Then there are the five new tracks, beginning with ‘God Damn’, which announces its arrival with an instant slap around the kisser. CJ takes lead vocals with a sneer that even William Broad wouldn’t attempt. More time signature changes than the average albums worth, all played out at an urgent pace. The short burst of Motorhead-esque riffage, which comes in at two minutes, is incredible. Even more so when it leads into a false ending, which in turn leads into a quick jam. ‘A Song About Drinking’ enters the world kicking and screaming thanks to the ferocity of Ritch Battersby’s insane drumwork. Christ, the guy puts in a shift and then some. All The Wildhearts trademarks are here, from punk-fused melodies and anthemic vocal harmonies, to audience participation-inducing woah-woah’s.

‘The First Time’ is a classic Ginger Wildheart vocal, that you know you will be humming for weeks to come. The kind of track that The Wildhearts could knock out in an afternoon, while other bands would ruin it by over-thinking and constantly meddling with it. A tale of second chances as Ginger exclaims “there’s a fire inside, and it ain’t going out again”. ‘That’s My Girl’ features Ritch Battersby with his debut lead vocal performance, and he bloody nails it. A full-pelt, riotous romp that makes the listener smile. Job done really. Special mention to Danny McCormack for a belting bass sound that rattles the fillings loose. ‘LOCAC’ is heavy on the distortion, which fans of Ginger’s ‘Mutation’ project will love. The wall of noise that bleeds from the speakers is intense and disorientating, especially when you play it at volume over and over again, trying to work out what LOCAC stands for. Language Of Cowards And Cunts if you are interested.

Not so long ago, in a piece for Classic Rock Magazine, Dom Lawson made a pretty bold statement by declaring that, in his opinion, The Wildhearts “are Britain’s greatest band right now”. No argument here.

Available on multiple formats on October 4th through Graphite Records.

Review – Dave

Image on header – courtesy of Graphite Records

The Wildhearts: Renaissance Men Tour Part 2
Oct 05: Brighton Concorde 2, UK
Oct 06: Reading Sub89, UK
Oct 07: Chester Live Rooms, UK
Oct 08: Hull The Welly, UK
Oct 10: Holmfirth Picturedrome, UK
Oct 15: Cambridge Junction, UK
Oct 16: Bath Komedia, UK
Oct 17: Southampton Engine Rooms, UK
Oct 21: Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill, UK
Oct 22: Dover Booking Hall, UK

The Wildhearts, Backyard Babies, CKY 2020 tour dates
Jan 23: Dresden Tante Ju, Germany
Jan 24: Stuttgart Wizemann, Germany
Jan 25: Cologne Live Music Hall, Germany
Jan 26: Frankfurt Batschkapp, Germany
Jan 28: Newcastle O2 Academy, UK
Jan 29: Belfastc Limelight, UK
Jan 30: Glasgow Queen Margaret Union, UK
Jan 31: Manchester O2 Ritz, UK
Feb 01: London O2 Forum Kentish Town, UK
Feb 03: Cardiff Tramshed, UK
Feb 04: Birmingham O2 Institute, UK

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