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Album Review : Massive Wagons – Welcome to the World

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Review by Ritchie Birnie for MPM

Was there ever an album title that captured a moment like Welcome to the World? This album catapulted the band to new heights and they have never looked back and although you may have thought it is a bit strange to re-release it after only eight years but I can assure you this is not just a band punting out another release.

From the opening barrage on “Nails” you are instantly smacked in the face and smashed in the eardrums with the difference.

I remember reviewing this album when it first came out and even then I knew it was very special so it is great to see the band revisit the album to touch up what was an extremely quickly put together release. With just 12 days to play with it is a surprise it was as good as it was but giving the new album a whirl there is a marked improvement.

“Nails” is cranked to perfection and “Tokyo” takes that radio friendly vibe and adds some brilliant panache. Everything sounds so much better and thinking that the bulk of these tracks have been a mainstay in the live sets we are all so at home with them that retouching could have been a mistake but this is genius.

The title track is as anthemic and powerful as you remember but the drums have a better mix and Baz is sounding incredible. These songs are encompassing the live sound, energy and chaos that the band had in 2015 and this seems like a far better marker to where the band were and why they would be propelled forward.

What can we say about “Ratio”? I remember this being on the radio constantly and now all I can think of is how a crowd react to hearing those first chords and this recording mixes all those thoughts and memories with a recorded version that we the fans deserve.

“Shit, Sweat, Death” is a seriously underrated track. The blues, the southern feel, those drums and Baz spitting his vocals like a punk on PCP. It is just perfect Rock. This is followed up of course by “The Day We Fell” and for me the Wagons best track to date and always a highlight in any live show. A pirate song for fuck’s sake…can I get a hell yeah and some rum! Only Massive Wagons could go so left field they end up in a galleon and after a miraculous voyage come back with a bonafide classic.

“Fighting Jack” and “Jodie” were probably the lesser tracks of this album but hearing them again with the guitar mix altered and the songs shaken with new life they fit far better than on the original.

For the quieter moment on WTTW we had “Aeroplane” and this mix is spot on for this quirky but powerful song. These crazy numbers are what the Wagons are all about and you really cannot sing for smiling.

Since we are talking smiling we have the crazy punk infused “Fee Fi Fo Fum” which might as well be Wagons anthem. Once again it is chaotic, as much fun as night out with Jim Carrey and just pure Rock’n’Roll.

As happens with reissues and remasters we get some bonus tracks. With the CD you will get five and the vinyl has two.

First up is “Sixteen” which was only released digitally previously and if you have not heard it you will be surprised to find it a ballad. We are not used to Baz being emotional (unless you class crazy as an emotion) and even rarer is an acoustic guitar. This is a really sweet (pun intended) song and again the production is beautiful.

Next up and again a track only released digitally with “Everybody Dies” and songs like this always makes me think why were these tracks left off an album, who decided as this song is a cracker. It is so good it deserves (if not demands) to be on a release and I am so glad it makes the cut here.

The next songs are the CD bonus tracks only and first up is an acoustic version of “Aeroplane” and instantly with the change in guitars you pick out every little flicker in Baz’s voice and it gives a down to earth, gritty and honest feel to the song that I loved.

“Fighting Jack” is for the guitar lovers and Wagons nerds as the track is an alternative solo version. I will leave it to the shredders out there to say which version is better but you cannot take it away from the track, a top class banger.

Now another for the Wagons nerds (I am including myself here) as we get a live number and it is a cover of Ozzy’s “Mr Crowley” and as a lover of that song…the boys nailed it.

There is no doubt Welcome to the World is the jewel in the Massive Wagons crown and this re-release does what a lot of other re-releases and reissues do not, It betters the original. All the original tracks sound tighter, crisper and filled with a new life. I already loved the album but this has me playing both the new version and the old vinyl and falling in love with the songs all over again.

Welcome To The World Track List:

Nails
Tokyo
Welcome To The World
Ratio
Shit Sweat Death
The Day We Fell
Fighting Jack
Jodie
Aeroplane
Fee Fi Fo Fum

Bonus Tracks:

Sixteen (previously digital only)
Everybody Dies (previously digital only)

Additional Bonus Tracks CD Edition Only:

Aeroplane (acoustic version)
Fighting Jack (alternate solo version)
Mr Crowley (live cover from 2015)

On March 9th, 2024, MASSIVE WAGONS will perform a very special one off show at the grade-two listed Parr Hall in Warrington where the band will play the album in full.

This historic building once showcased The Rolling Stones, just two singles into their career, sixty years ago. Be quick if you want to snap up a ticket – tickets are on sale now here.

FIND MASSIVE WAGONS ONLINE:

www.massivewagons.com

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