The 17th July 2020 sees Lancaster rockers Massive Wagons release their 5th studio album, entitled House of Noise. This 12 track masterpiece is once again full of sing-a-long tunes, coming complete with even more catchy lyrics and has so many monstrous riffs and powerhouse drumbeats included it will surely give the most ardent air guitarist and air drummer an R.S.I. It is the bands 5th studio album and their second release on Earache, following on from the chart busting Full Nelson, which was a UK Top 20 hit in 2018.
The press release that accompanied the album stream I was sent to review from describes House of Noise as “easily their most accomplished work to date. The record brings together all of the infectious elements that have endeared Massive Wagons to fans of maximum force rock n’ roll – a raucous rabble-rousing sense of community, straight from-the-heart lyrics, and an irresistible combination of pop melody and street-smart hooks.
The album contains 12 tracks that vary from the high octane opener In It Together, to the anthemic title track and the frankly ludicrous, but hilarious, The Curry Song ,via the brooding menace of Hero and bittersweet lament of Sad, Sad Song. The entire experience overflows with personality and passion, and sounds like nothing else. Massive Wagons have just kicked things up another notch… and then some!” It is not wrong!!!
Ever since the e-mail with House Of Noise in it hit my inbox I have played it over and over again to try and fully to get to grips with what is undeniably an exceptional slab of classic rock inspired, guitar driven rock n roll. That time to be able to really take the album in, although on first listen it had completely grabbed me, has led me to a clear and concise conclusion.
House of Noise is incendiary, it is explosive, it will grab you by the balls and not let go until you are jumping up and down like a madman. The 12 tracks that are on offer weigh in at 51 minutes and 51 seconds and it is, from start to finish full of monster riffs, chest destroying drums and ear splitting vocals. I am not sure I have ever heard Massive Wagons sound this good.
In my opinion, every album that these larger than life Northern lads have released has helped them climb another few rungs up the proverbial ladder. After the success of Full Nelson, they jumped a few and left themselves in sight of the top. If House Of Noise doesn’t give them that last little shove up there then it will certainly leave them within touching distance.
So what of the tracks then, well each and every one of them is just pure genius. Opening track In It Together, smacks you straight in the face from the get-go with a blisteringly hot guitar riff before Bazz’s vocals kick in. The rhythm and melody that make you want to get up and dance, jump and have a good time are there in abundance and get you fixated straight away. Complete with an absolutely sumptuous guitar solo the track makes 100% certain that the album hits the ground running at full tilt.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00Sy9IYKtBg&w=560&h=315]
Banging In Your Stereo, the second track released off the album in the build up to it’s release starts with yet another glorious riff. If In It Together didn’t make you get your air guitar and jumping shoes out then this beast of a number certainly will. For me, this track is up there with the likes of Ratio, Back To The Stack and Hurricane Suzy and I cannot wait to see and hear the Wagons faithful get to grips with it in the live arena when gigs restart. It is just under 3 minutes of pure unadulterated fun that needs turning up loud.
House Of Noise, the albums title track and latest single is up next. Leading in with yet another stunning riff, it makes sure that the pace of the album just doesn’t let up. I dare you to try keeping your hands, feet and head still through this absorbing number that build and builds into a smouldering, absorbing rocker.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a33qdeM3XjU&w=560&h=315]
The chant at the end, which is built for mass crowd participation will undoubtedly make it a live favourite for many years. About the track guitarist Adam Thistlethwaite says: “The song itself came together very quickly, as all the best ones do! I wrote the riff deliberately upbeat in contrast to the pretty heavy subject matter in Bazz’s words relating to mental health and stability, the House Of Noise being the chaos in your head, it just worked right away in the studio with minimal effort.
It’s one of those songs that we just know will become a live favourite, and as we recorded the album with a setup tailored to capture the live vibe, the energy on the track is through the roof! It’s three and half minutes of hook laden rock with not a second wasted, which as a songwriter with radio play in mind that’s what you strive for. And now we have a completely trippy video to match the madness in the tune! ”
Freak City is a sizzling anthemic rocker, built over a pure classic rock riff and a big chorus that wouldn’t have gone amiss on 80’s MTV and arena stages. With a third of the album done, it is clear that Massive Wagons are showing an even bigger level of maturity and assuredness in their songwriting and playing and on the basis of those four songs are heading for those arena stages, that they enjoyed with Lynyrd Skynyrd so successfully last year, on a much more regular basis.
Hero, a really down and dirty blues based number takes us into the middle third of this stupendously great album. There is a nod towards the masters of dirty bluesy rock AC/DC through the track which is 6 minutes of beer soaked, whiskey drenched heaven. Full of crunching guitars and a totally mesmerising drum beat, it has an almost epic feel to it and the near 80 second heart wrenching guitar solo mid way through will see those much used air guitars out again. Sublime only just covers it!
Moving onto Professional Creep after that is like being hit by a tornado whilst you are enjoying a day in the sun. Fast and furious from the outset, it doesn’t let up for three and a half minutes. Crashing drums, crunching guitars and Bazz is in your face with lyrics like “All I ever wanted was to punch you in the face”.
Pressure follows that and keeps the lightning fast pace going, in fact it probably ups the ante even more. It is electrifying, punky, punchy, brash and full of more razor sharp vocals. The guitar work throughout is just breath taking. In this strange world we are in at the moment I wonder how many households will have socially distanced mosh pits going on in the living room or garden listening to those two tracks as they just entice it.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ck7huU9WXQ&w=560&h=315]
Bringing the middle section of the album to a close is The Curry Song. Obviously the Wagons enjoy a good Indian and fair play to them for that, as there is nothing better than a good chicken Dhansak with mushroom rice and a Peshwari Naan if you ask me. Dish after dish are reeled off through some superbly witty lyrics, and that along with the beat to the track wouldn’t see it out of place on a Terrorvision album.
It has a brilliant party vibe to it and is without doubt, the “stand out” fun track on the album. “It’s my favourite place in the world, if you fancy it sometime give us a ring”, sings Bazz throughout the song. I would love to take him up on that at some point I must say.
Kicking in with Bazz singing over a fantastic chugging riff, Glorious builds into yet another track full of sublime melodies, catchy lyrics impeccable rhythm, and delicious guitar parts, especially, the twin guitar section in the middle of the track.
I don’t know if they had one particular person in mind when they wrote the lyrics or whether it is just that particular type of music fan and gig goer but lines like “When you’re ranting and you’re raving, is it stardom that you’re craving” leave you in no doubt as to their feelings and I guess somewhere we all know the guy they are singing about.
To pinch a phrase from the track, this number is indeed “Solid Gold”. Sad Sad Song is a really classy pop-punk gem full of harmonies and has an insatiable beat that drives the song all the way through. Check out the guitar intro too, just insanely good, it had me drooling and I could not stop myself from playing it over and over again. I am not sure I have heard much better since Randy Rhoads wrote some of his classic guitar parts for Ozzy all those years ago.
That takes us to the albums penultimate track Hallescrewya, which sees the band drop the pace slightly and play out a classy mid-tempo rocker with some jaw-droppingly brilliant story telling lyrics. Musically, the track is as powerful as any of the faster numbers on the album and the backing vocals and harmonies within, give it a really special edge.
The album finishes with Matter of Time, an eight minute ballad full of gloriously rich toned bluesy guitar. Bazz pours his heart out throughout a song that brings the album to an unexpected yet equally enjoyable conclusion. For all the mayhem and riotous music that has gone before in the preceding 43 minutes, this is without question one of the highlights on the release as it is the complete polar opposite to the tub-thumping, chest beating, rabble rousing 11 other tracks on offer.
House Of Noise is out on the 17th July, the day that the band were due to be playing at Ramblin Man Fair. Now that would have been one hell of a launch party, but sadly as that is no longer happening make sure you get your copy for release date, stick it in the stereo, turn the volume up to 11 and entertain your neighbours.
Lets make every house in the country a proper “House Of Noise” and see if we can make so much noise all around the UK, the sounds reach the band in Lancashire and they know what a phenomenal album they have let rip on the world.
In 2020 and during this period of Covid-19 enforced lockdown, Massive Wagons have also launched Wagons World: the band’s inner circle, an assemblage of first class rock n’ rollers dedicated to good times and to create a community built around the love of music.
Wagons World is based on the Patreon platform and will allow you to become a patron and support the band and their creative output. In addition, the band is smashing the online game entertaining fans with a wealth of exciting fresh content uploaded weekly. Head to their YouTube channel and get to know the real Massive Wagons with the “A to Z” series, or understand the ins and outs of the “band machine” with their honest tips videos … and a lot more!
In It Together
Bangin In Your Stereo
House Of Noise
The Curry Song
Sad, Sad Song
Matter Of Time
Massive Wagons are:
Barry ‘Baz’ Mills – vocals
Adam Thistlethwaite – guitars
Stephen Holl – guitars
Alex Thistlethwaite – drums
Adam ‘Bowz’ Bouskill – bass
House Of Noise will be released on 17th July 2020, via Earache Records.
Pre-orders are available here: https://webstore.earache.com/A-Z/m/massive-wagons
Become a patron and join the Wagons World here: https://www.patreon.com/wagonsworld
Useful Online Links:
Review by Darren Smith for MPM