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Album Review : The Wildhearts ’30 Year Itch: Live

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P.H.U.Q yes! A new official live offering from The Wildhearts! For just over 30 years Ginger Wildheart has been leading his rag-tag rabble of rebel rousing raconteurs in a disorderly, riotous assault upon the musical world; all conducted from a secretive base located somewhere in NW3.

Somewhere where ‘roaches dance in the hall and paper hangs off the wall; just off misery street if my hazy recollection serves me correctly.

Just in time to shake the festive decorations, rattle the Christmas tree to it’s roots and roll Santa right over The Wildhearts have landed with ’30 Year Itch: Live’. A 17 track offering, recorded during 2019’s The Renaissance Men and Diagnosis tours, that packs one almighty thump to remind one and all of the very thing we’re currently missing.

Eight of the nine studio albums that define The Wildhearts’ incendiary career are represented within.

From beginning to end this is a high intensity pyroclastic flow of energetic classics garnered from their highly lauded 1993 debut ‘Earth Versus The Wildhearts’ right through to last year’s top 20 charting ‘Renaissance Men’.

Scorchingly hot The Wildhearts blast their unstoppable course  in their very own indomitable style.

All killer, no filler as the saying goes and not one cover version to boot either; which is rather appropriate as the singular album that isn’t represented is 2008’s ‘Stop Us If You’ve Heard This One Before’ – an album of covers.

This is a live recording showcasing a hard rocking band that, after 30 years, is kicking as strong as ever.

Wall to wall classic tunes from the anthemic ‘Everlone’ via the punchy ‘Caffeine Bomb’ to the ever timeless ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’. This is an outfit who have deservedly earned their position nestling amongst the well loved and respected.

With bassist Danny McCormack rejoining the ranks – alongside Ginger, CJ and Ritch Battersby – in 2018 the classic Wildhearts’ quartet of the mid 90s was finally reunited.

Ginger muses on the urge to capture the magic “There are a few authorised bootleg live albums of The Wildhearts doing the rounds, but as soon as Danny rejoined the band I knew I had to capture the classic Wildhearts lineup on record.

There were a few reasons for this, the main one being that we’re still alive, which is a situation that could change at any second with this group.”

To ensure this happened the services of sound maestro Dave Draper were enlisted.

Having first worked with The Wildhearts on 2015’s ‘Never OutDrunk, Never Outsung PHUQ Live’ sound maestro Draper reflects “Ginger gave me two instructions: “Loud guitars and loud crowd” … I didn’t have a choice in either as that’s what was captured during the recording. Thank you for making my job a lot easier guys!”

Job successfully done on both accounts in my humble opinion. Such is the strength of the newer material that tracks from ‘Renaissance Men’ like raucous show opener ‘Dislocated’ and harding rocking ‘Diagnosis’ dovetail perfectly with the likes of established favourites like readymade for moshing buzzsawing ‘Suckerpunch’ and the tubthumping ‘Love U Till I Don’t’.

Ginger snarls ‘Take me as I am or not at all’; we certainly have. Pounding rhythms, crashing guitars, snappy lyrics and anthemic choruses this is The Wildhearts.

Ginger concludes “As far as I’m concerned this is a classic album by a unique band playing timeless songs that don’t fit into any established genre. Is it rock? Is it punk? Who cares, it’s the Wildhearts!” You won’t find me, for one, disagreeing with that.

A thousand fake heroes appear at the throne whilst the ‘roaches still dance in the hall; but a quartet of rocking heroes have snuck off with the crown anyway!

‘The Wildhearts – 30 Year Itch’ is released on 4th December, via Round Records, on limited colour vinyl and a CD version with 4 exclusive postcards not available anywhere else.

Review by Gary Spiller for MPM

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