23 November 2020

The WildHearts – 30 year Itch – Album review

The WildHearts – 30 Year Itch

As a vinyl buying youth in the late 70’s early 80’s the zenith was the double live album, gate fold sleeve, inner artwork and lyrics. It was a magical mythical creature and was a tactile as it was an audio treat. However, the music had to match and my collection, like so many included what are deemed as classic double live albums, so much so that the band names are often omitted, such is the familiarity and status of the record. Live and dangerous, Strangers in the Night, Alive!  and many more from the 70’s, Live after Death, Worldwide Live, One night at Budokan in the 80’s and on and on it goes. There were duds amongst the diamonds, Sabbath’s Live Evil and KISS Alive II both had potential to be great but missed the mark. However, many of these albums either cemented the status of the bands, or in some cases even made their careers.

The new live album from Ginger and the boys, entitled The Wild Hearts – 30 year Itch 1991-2021 released on 4th December is a double live album recorded across the UK during the Renaissance Men tour way back in the first two months of 2020. This tour was supporting the bands 9th LP which was the surprise hit album of 2019 and a decade between it and the previous album Chutzpah!

The 17 tracks span the career of the band, from the glorious thumping marching’s-esq beat of the opener Dislocated to the raucous bounce factor 10 ender I wanna go where the people go . In football terminology it is end to end stuff. The new album is well represented as is the now classic Earth V the Wildhearts debut from ’93 and everything in between. There are no fillers in here and for me the high water marks are Caffeine Bomb, Love U till I don’t and the record closer the magnificent I wanna go where the people go. The only surprise is the absence of My baby is a headfuck, but hey it’s not a deal breaker.

Content doesn’t always equal quality; this could have been a “best of” recorded live and released as a stop gap filler. In a lot of ways, it is a best of TWH, but slap my arse and called me Mavis, this has both quality and quantity in shed fulls. Throughout the whole listen the overriding, overarching and overwhelming truth is the sheer clarity of the recording, which was mastered by Dave Draper, it sounds and feels like a live recording. There is no sanitisation or overdubbing here, it is a band in a room with a crowd of rabid fans and sounds it. I could almost smell the sweat and spilt beer it is that real. However, a record is only as good as the music, musicianship is everything. This band is tight, a rhythm section that could knock down barn doors, guitars that buzz like a wet high voltage cables and the joint vocals that growl, scream and in places soar. This is a true recording of a band on fire. It is rock, it is punk, it is heavy, it is soulful, and it is melodic. It’s the undeniable class of The WildHearts who are the real deal. For those of us who were lucky enough to be (and remember being) in the same room as The Wildhearts on this tour nearly 12 months ago this is reminder of how good this band is. For those who were not, it shows you what you missed out on and what to expect when the band eventually get back on stage.

This is not only a truly great live record; it is absolutely the best live album of the past 20 years and should propel this band into the big league. The Wildhearts – 30 year Itch 1991-2021 double live will sit proudly and comfortably with any or all of the aforementioned double live greats peers of yesteryear and will in no doubt will be held with the same veneration in decades to come. It is that good.

An essential purchase – 95/100

Track Listing

  1. Dislocated
  2. Everlone
  3. Suckerpunch
  4. Anthem
  5. Diagnosis
  6. TV Tan
  7. The Jackson Whites
  8. Let em go
  9. Vanilla radio
  10. Urge
  11. Mazel Tov cocktail
  12. Sick of drugs
  13. Someone who won’t let me go
  14. The revolution will be televised
  15. Caffeine bomb
  16. Lover u till I don’t
  17. I wanna go where the people go

Reviewer – Skid

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