17 August 2014
CJ WIldheart - Mable
I am really surprised I am getting to review this one and I'm allegedly in charge here! As most people that visit this blog on a regular basis will know, most of the people on here have a soft spot for all things to do with the Wildhearts. So it came as a little bit of a surprise to find out that none of them had started one for the latest solo release by Christopher Paul Persaud-Jagdhar (aka CJ Wildheart). This is his first solo work (although he had released an album with The Satellites in 2007). He has the most out-put apart from Ginger outside of the Wildhearts, with release with The Jellys, Honeycrack (they were so damm good), The Man-Maun and others. This album was released by a pledge campaign (where you could also get some hot and spicy sauce as well) and when it was released to the general public in August 2014, it made 23 in the UK (his highest charting album outside of the Wildhearts). It has quite possible one of the most surreal covers I have seen this year, not too sure it will be popular with vegans but I love it. From what I know about CJ, I am reckoning before I start that this will be a more poppy album than anything that Ginger has released since the last Wildhearts album; let’s see if I am right?
"Better Late Than Never" is probably an apt title as it has been seven years since a CJ album has been released; also the beginning is a slow introduction like a classic 70's/80's rock album. It is a nice build up until the riff is unleashed; but even then it is not racing away. This is not the style here, there is a hook here which I have had trouble shifting for the last week or so since I have been listening to the record; it is just incredible simple but incredible infectious and that is really hard to do in this day and age. "Down The Drain" is much more bouncy and punchy, it is a brawler compared to the glorious welcome of "Better Late Than Never". It is also another song which is something special again, it could have been off any of CJ's other albums with any of his other bands, even with a different singer; but CJ has a really understated voice that it would have been a shame for anyone else to sing this song. "Next To You" is...well, next on the album. This is another riff that sounds like it has been hang out with early Elvis Costello far too much for its own good and is now out to paint the town red. The fast fire lyrics are spat out at such a speed and it is has a hypnotic nature to it, so it is so far, so fun.
"Vitriol" is next out of the blocks, this time with an organ thrown into the mix and it is another tune which is a little too close in tone to "Next To You" and I don't mean just in track order. It is a great bouncy number which keep the momentum of the album going along. It is a positive number about keeping things going when times get that little bit tough, it is a great message from the song. "Always Believe Her" is the first song which does not have as much of the bounce as the other songs. This is because the track is a love song, which is not an uncommon theme in the Wildhearts albums to be honest. It is a very nice and pleasant number with a fun riff, but not a track for me to be honest. "Kentucky Fried" is a night outs in the form of a punk rock bomb, fuelled on the memories of crazy and slightly disturbing times as well (who enjoying a spot of bleeding from the gums). It is end with someone trying to escape from the self destruction and the song speeds to a high octave ending. "D.C." is another foot stomping track; the mood is low and angry with a sign of some quality punk to come between the anger. It is a true highlight of the album; bring up the energy for me and showing (as it has been a few times on this record) just how good CJ is at knocking out a monster tune.
"Come With Me" is another moody piece of punk that shows that it is not all about the party here. It is an interesting song, showing another side to CJ's repertoire and that is something to applaud. It is not spinning my world to be honest, but it is also another decent song on the album. Next is "State Of Emergency" and it has to be said that this song reminds me a lot of Johnny Panic (for people who do not know who these were, they were a rather good London punk rock band from the early 00's). It has that sort of feel, bouncy and guitar tone; which is not surprising as Johnny Panic st....were influenced slightly by the Wildhearts at times. It really brings the energy back on this album and has one of the best solos' of the record. "Devil" has a similar sort of feel to "State Of Emergency", but with a more focused attack. It was very close to being one of the top songs on the album and the faster part does have classic CJ all over it. Ending the album is "Midlife Crisis", a very reflective ending to the album. Even here, the punk comes into force with sing along type of tune to complete the album.
Now I am not going to say that this is the most important record of the year, it is not that type of album if I am honest; but that does not make it a good record. To use a comparison, it is like a mid-card wrestler. It is really good at what it does, but it is not a main event player. It is a little bruiser that will slowly take over, slowly but surely making people take notice. That is sometimes the type of record which people will go back to more than the all conquering spectacular. It is an album that has grown on repeat listening and that is a refreshing change compared to some of the other stuff out there. Apart from one song on the album, this album does not have a dull moment. It is just a decent punk record that if I am honest, is better than 'Albion' (cleverly linked here) by Ginger (as much as Luke loved it, I have found it a hard record to enjoy). This is just very accessible and down to earth; I think that works in its favour incredibly well. Let's just hope that CJ does not take as long to do another solo album!
7 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check
Top Track - D.C.
You can purchase the album on Amazon (for some reason not till September 2014) here
Or you can buy for the CJ Wildheart Bandcamp page here
You can keep up to date with CJ via his Facebook here - it also has links to his twitter and other accounts
You can listen to the album on Spotify here
Or here is a link for our Deezer users
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