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Album Review: Massive Wagons – Triggered

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Review by Gary Spiller for MPM

Long-term front-runners and torchbearers for the resurgence of good old honest British hard rock The Wagons have, of late, felt the chasing pack nipping at their collective heels.

The likes of Those Damn Crows, Mason Hill, Scarlet Rebels and Florence Black have been upping the ante and piling through the doors that this Lancastrian quintet have been ramming down since their formative years.

Discount The Wagons, however, at your peril! Why? Because in the form of forthcoming release ‘Triggered’ they’re back with a bona fide banger! An absolute gem that is guaranteed to surmount the, not to be sniffed at, top 20 and top 10 herculean achievements of ‘Full Nelson’ and ‘House Of Noise’ without a shadow of a doubt. Retaining the skills of Chris Clancy and Colin Richardson, the production team responsible for the prodigious long-player ‘House Of Noise.’

It’s a dream team, one that has tapped into the nuclear core of the band. Harnessing the irresistible energy and forthright perspectives on life that resides within. With this release, the sixth of their career and third with gritty, urban label Earache Records, Massive Wagons are pushing beyond their previous perimeter whilst achieving the tricky balance of remaining true to the very kernel of their identity. In glorious technicolour we have a delightful baker’s dozen of tracks; nothing superstitious herein.

Enigmatic frontman Barry ‘Baz’ Mills explains how this album stands out compared to the band’s previous releases: “I think this album is a lot more British sounding. I think we’ve managed to bring our sound more up to date, it sounds fresh and exciting.

It has much more of a punk vibe about it, but that being said, it’s still full of everything we love about guitar music.” Perfect summary, as one would expect, in the perfect nutshell. I, for one, have long harboured the thought that there is a punk-ish ethos at the heart of this band and it’s great to see its emergence.

The album opens via single ‘Fuck The Haters’ hoisting an ever so rambunctious middle finger to those in society who deem it acceptable to bully others. In distinctive style Baz sings “I try not to swear in my songs”; must have made the premier on the ever-supportive Planet Rock interesting! A resonant and striking rallying call for individualism and truth to oneself Baz, in the album’s press release synopsizes the essence of the track “Simple song, simple message: fuck the haters, fuck ’em all. Do what you want, wear what you want, be who you want to be and be proud about it.

I know this kind of thing has been covered in songs before, but I wanted to strip it back to its most basic, powerful form.” Nothing further need be added.

Not ones to remain static The Wagons push beyond previous releases in their latest single ‘Please Stay Calm.’ With spoken verses, in an intriguing Lancastrian Puff Daddy sort of a rap, layered upon a vibrancy most redolent, in parts, of The Police’s 1983 smash single ‘Every Breath You Take’ this is a track that weaves in and out of the rush-hour traffic in bursts of breakneck pace.

First aired to great reaction during their headline slot at HRH NWOCR festival way back in January single ‘Generation Prime’ features guest vocals from Skindred’s Benji Webbe. There’s a sparkling touch of ska / reggae amongst the monster riffage. A sideways swipe is taken at the disposable generation “I want it now, I want it yesterday.” Afterall it’s all pizza and monthly repayments, isn’t it?

The Wagon’s social commentary ascends further with the gritty insurrectional ‘A.S.S.H.O.L.E’ that’s got the potential to become a live favourite very much in the vein of the wondrous ‘Curry Song.’ The clever, dextrous lyrics – think a hard rock Ronnie Barker – are delivered atop a deliciously spicy topped riffing pizza full of scorching licks and sumptuous beats. Insurrectional temptation. The punky attitude keeps on truckin’ into the tubthumping of pugnacious rocker ‘Skateboard’ as The Wagons effortlessly shift up through their gears.

In cogitative mood, Baz reflects on ‘Triggered’ “There are some very angry, passionate songs in there. We all dug really deep writing this one, some of them were a real labour of love. I think we truly have made our best album yet. I know that’s a cliché, but our other albums felt like they had a foot in the previous one somehow, be it leftover songs, a certain sound or style… But I think this one stands alone as a unique sounding Wagons album.”

The hair-triggered momentum sustaining riffage of ‘Gone Are The Days’ provides a healthy serving towards the recommended daily dosage of no-nonsense rock whilst titular track ‘Triggered’ swaggers about in a luscious miasmic haze brought forth from a bewitching honky-tonk 70s brew mixed up with alt rock dimensions. The Wagons’ banquet continues to deliver.

It’s one for the money and two for the show with the head-nodding ‘Giulia’ before the melodious currents of ‘Germ’ melds the jangly guitars beloved of such indie-rockers like The Primitives with the forthright raw rocking of The Wildhearts. Those Wagons do enjoy a heady broth for sure.

The lyrical strength at the heart of all things Wagon-tastic is highlighted in the joyous anthemic ‘Never Been A Problem.’ “I’m a dude with a thousand headaches, some of my favourite fruit is veg” quips Baz. A total standout.

The buzzsaw riffage of ‘Big Time’ cuts the hardest of rock with superlative precision. The Wagon’s transcendent blade is true and of the sharpest affirmation. ‘Sawdust’ stampedes with its cylinders pumping at an eye-watering velocity; bursting into life from a brooding hollow with searing fretwork. It’s a momentum that is ratcheted even further with an Ugly Kid Joe driven attitude within album closer ‘No Friend Of Mine.’

This is 100% their finest moment, thus far, for Massive Wagons and places the bar at the highest point yet. From Download to Belgium’s Graspop to Finland’s Rock In The City The Wagons have rolled into town and tore fixtures and fittings apart. This is set to continue with the forthcoming co-headline UK tour with Ugly Kid Joe in early November which runs as follows.

TRIGGERED! Track Listing:

  1. Fuck The Haters
  2. Please Stay Calm
  3. Generation Prime
  4. A.S.S.H.O.L.E.
  5. Skateboard
  6. Gone Are The Days
  7. Triggered
  8. Giulia
  9. Germ
  10. Never Been A Problem
  11. Big Time
  12. Sawdust
  13. No Friend Of Mine

For a full list of upcoming tour dates and to buy tickets, visit the band’s official website here.

Pre-order now at https://www.earache.com/massivewagons

Official site: https://www.massivewagons.com

YouTube: @Massive Wagons Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7xytG…

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MassiveWagons​

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MassiveWagons​

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/massivewagons

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/wagonsworld

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