There’s little point in detailing the history and origins of Ginger Wildheart; Chances are, if you’re reading this then you know all about it. Also you can read all about it here, or here maybe even here
Albion then is his umpteenth album and was once again funded via a PledgeMusic campaign. The whole recording process was documented via a blog and a series of interesting, and often hilarious, video diaries. Both of these heavily featured the entire band rather than just Ginger; The rest of the band being: Victoria Liedtke, Chris Catalyst, Rich Jones, Random Jon Poole, Denzel and new boy Bryan Scary.
Albion began life as a project called Practical Musician but as the music developed, Ginger felt that title didn’t accurately represent it anymore and reverted to the title he had originally planned for it: Albion. Personally I thought Practical Musician was very bland and clinical so I’m glad Ginger eventually felt the same.
The Pledge version of the album features 15 tracks while the commercial release is set to only have 10. More on that later.
The album is as grand and epic as the build-up suggested it would be. The whole thing, even without a physical copy yet, feels special. There are short songs, long songs, Punk bits, Proggy bits, Metal bits, multi-part harmonies and a whole load of hummable choruses that stick in the head.
The first track is Drive which irks me. It’s a bouncy classic rock song and if it was a bonus track it’d be the sort of bonus track you’d say “Hey this bonus track is really good, I don’t understand why it wasn’t on the album!” about. Unfortunately it’s not the grandiose, mind-blower of an opener I’d expected and would have been much better served further down the tracklisting. In fact I’d even swap it with the second track Cambria which IS everything I’d expected an opener to be. It’s starts off with great Punk-driven riffs, Ginger’s harshest vocals and then kicks in with a great chorus. Also some lead vocals from Victoria are a welcome addition. It wouldn’t have sounded out of place on either of Ginger’s Mutation albums.
This is followed by The Road To Apple Cross which feels is somewhere between the previous two songs. The Order Of The Dog starts with a slow, ponderous, minute long intro before heading off deep into Prog with some heavy riffing that chops and changes throughout.
The next track Chill Motherfucker, Chill drops off the quality somewhat. It’s a mid-paced rock song that doesn’t really do anything. Things pick up again immediately with Burn This City Down which features verses sung by guitarist Chris Catalyst and Ginger tackles the chorus. Both are excellent.
Next up is the very poppy Body Parts. It was released as a taster to those who pledged on the album and also become the subject of a video making competition. The song itself could have fitted seamlessly into the Hey! Hello! Project of Ginger’s and Victoria’s.
Another song that echoes previous Ginger projects is The Beat Goes On that sounds very much like the Silver Ginger 5, Gingers 70’s glam themed band of the 90’s(?). It’s not up to the standard of the rest of the album and seems like filler. As does the song following it, After All You Said About Cowboys. It’s slow, forgettable and, considering it was leftover from the 555% recordings, confusing as to why it was included. That said it does feature some nice ‘Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba’s towards the end.
L-R Chris Catalyst, Rich Jones, Ginger, Denzel (on the drums), Victoria Liedtke and Random Jon Poole
The quality is thrown right up when, fittingly, Grow A Pair kicks in with Victoria once again taking the fore. It barrels along on a Rock n’ Roll riff and the interplay between Victoria and Ginger is great, particularly the refrain of “You don’t have to be a dickhead all your life”.
Next is I Need You which I can’t decide if I like or not. It seems like more filler but then it has some lovely Honk Tonk piano and an infectios chorus. Maybe it’s just a grower.
Capital Anxiety jars upon its arrival as it’s the fastest and most aggressive song here. At just shy of two minutes it doesn’t hang about either. It’s followed by Into This which is easily the worst song on Albion, even over After All You Said About Cowboys. It’s another slow, forgettable song but on top of that the chorus is trite and simplistic. Don’t like it.
Creepers makes up for it by kicking off with a big ‘Wahoo!’ and bounces along merrily, stopping only for some chop change riffery and some quiet, ethereal sections from Victoria.
The final song is the title track Albion and it’s a perfect closer. It’s over 10 minutes along and goes all over the place, there seems to be all the different aspects of the album rolled up in to one big Prog Metal epic. It brings to mind The Wildhearts in their Fishing For Luckies era. It’s excellent.
I mentioned before about the commercial release being cut down by five songs. The songs I would remove are: Chill Motherfucker, Chill, The Beat Goes On, After All You Said About Cowboys and Into This. That’s only four and I’m a bit stuck after that. Ether The Road To Apple Cross or I Need You.
8 - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart (The commercial release will be a 9 or possibly a 10)
Best Track: Grow A Pair
Albion isn’t yet available on Spotify