Sunday 12 May 2019

Album Review: THE WILDHEARTS - Renaissance Men

The Wildhearts - Renaissance Men

01. Dislocated
02. Let 'Em Go
03. The Renaissance Men
04. Fine Art Of Deception
05. Diagnosis
06. My Kinda Movie
07. Little Flower
08. Emergency (Fentanyl Babylon)
09. My Side Of The Bed
10. Pilo Erection

I've always had three favourite bands. Kiss, Judas Priest and The Wildhearts. While my first two sets of heroes were larger than life and had something 'other-worldly' about them, The Wildhearts were more down to earth with lyrics that were relatable to everyday life. They had a caustic British sense of humour and cynicism, and an ability to put a welcome black cloud over the most upbeat of harmonies. Mix those traits with some of the most infectious and diverse Rock music on the planet, and voila: The Wildhearts. I was hooked from the first time I heard their song Dangerlust on a free CD with a magazine back in the early 90's and I've loved them ever since. To say I've been looking forward to this new album is the understatement of the year!

Renaissance Men is their first studio album in ten years, and it has been worth the wait. The production is excellent. Everything sounds huge yet retains that aggressive Punk grit. My only criticism is they distort certain instruments or vocals now and again, like they did on their classic track Suckerpunch. It's a production touch that sometimes adds a bit of filth and energy, but personally, I'd have preferred it a little cleaner sounding in places. That's a very minor gripe though.

Opener Dislocated is packed with killer riffs and has that classic Wildhearts trait of letting the listener think that they've heard the chorus, but then there's another one! It's like four super-catchy songs seamlessly spliced into one, keeping things interesting. It sounds like an updated version of something you'd have expected from Fishing For Luckies or their self-titled 'white' album, but is easily as strong as any track from either of those records.

Let 'Em Go is The Wildhearts at their rabble-rousing anthemic best. Written about twats on the internet, it's a song that I'm sure most people can relate to.

Other favourites include the title track, which has an upbeat air of Slade about it; the massive rocker Diagnosis; and the CJ-penned, Pop-tinged Little Flower. The Fine Art Of Deception also had me hitting the repeat button for a while. In fairness, the whole record is great.

What I love about this band is that they always sound like The Wildhearts, yet also keep the music fresh and engaging. There are so many bands out there riding the wave of nostalgia, putting out new records that are 'pretty good' at best, but The Wildhearts somehow keep sounding modern and relevant. You also know that every new record could contain your new favourite song too. There aren't many bands in the world that you could say that about.

Renaissance Men is another fabulous album from one of the best bands ever. They deserve to be much bigger than they are, and with such consistent quality, there's still a chance they could blow up like a bunch of major label teenagers. Let's see if there's any justice left in the world.


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