The Wildhearts – “30 Year Itch” 2CD / 2LP + pre-order bonus CD (Round Records)
Battle Helm Rating
It’s definitely Christmas cos The Wildhearts are back – with the best live album of the year!!! Formed in the late 80s by vocalist / guitarist Ginger after he left the Quireboys, The Wildhearts are virtually a household name in the UK, achieving several top 20 singles and one top 10 album over the last 30 years, although what’s really made their reputation is being one of the best loved live bands whether it’s in a dingy club or a festival. Made for that live setting, the music of the band is power pop punk rock ‘n’ roll, and an instantly catchy version of it too, especially when it comes to cueing en masse singalongs and a generally riotous night out. With everything played loud from deafening guitars to pounding drums that are in splendid contrast to Ginger’s croons, the only thing that’s louder is the roaring crowd – and f–king deafening it is too! Working once again with live album producer Dave Draper, who brought out Ginger’s expectations on 2016’s “Never Outdrunk, Never Outsung – P.H.U.Q Live”, you’ll know what to expect from the 17 searing ‘n’ heart breaking numbers here – recorded during the band’s “The Renaissance Men” and “Diagnosis” tours in 2019 – along with a bonus 4 track CD of tracks not included on the album for pre-orders. Indeed, you’d be hard pressed not to miss ‘Nothing Ever Changes But The Shoes’, taken from 1992’s ‘Mondo Akimbo A-Go-Go’ EP with its huge drums instigating a matching clap from the ceaselessly roaring crowd and as the swanky punk pop melodies roll in with even more catchy grooves and the pure rock ‘n’ roll fire of CJ’s lead, it all goes mental in complete contrast to Ginger’s soulful vocals and band harmonies. In the main track list, ‘Someone Who Won’t Let Me Go’ from “The Wildhearts Must Be Destroyed” (2003) with its stirring chorus and heart-breaking harmonies are an instant catch driven by pure alt rock energy that sees the crowd singing along once more – and who can blame them when you’ve got material that’s this damn irresistible! Hammering in to Ritch Battersby’s thumping kick beats, ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ from the band’s self-titled 2007 release kicks off the furor, although it’s the heart shredding mellow core chorus that resonates long in the soul thanks to melting harmonies from the band and Ginger’s tender croons of ‘…I’m standing with my back to the wall and the sign in my head is I’ll be dead before I’m gonna fall…’ reaching the crowd who respond back movingly with ‘…calling, calling…’. Closing with ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ from 1995’s “P.H.U.Q”, the crowd go absolutely mental in chanting to the punk pop riffs and wailing melodies as the energy overflows between them and the band, so much so that it’s hardly discernible who really are the mad bastards singing their hearts out!