I’ve not reviewed anything for a few weeks now; due to Events In Real Life taking up any spare time I might have had. Things are returning to normal and I currently find myself with a couple of hours spare so I thought I’d fill it with blogging. I’ve now got two Months of GASS built up (insert stinky bum gag at your leisure) so I thought I’d just do them as one blog rather than fanny on posting twice.
Month 5 kicks things off with The Pendine Incident, a raucous burst of semi-acoustic Folk Punk. Pendine is a small village in Wales and the place where JG Parry-Thomas was killed attempting the Land Speed Record in 1927. That’s what Wikipedia says anyway. I don’t think that’s the incident Ginger is referring to in this song though, the lyrics tell the story of an older man passing on some worldly advice. it has the feel of a song that seems like it’s been around for years, like you’ve heard it before somewhere even though it’s brand new. It’s great.
The next song is about the amount of people killed in car accidents and the flowers tied to trees and fences in their honour. Carriageway Roses sounds like an old 80’s pop rock song and has a little bit of slide guitar that sounds like it’s ripped straight from How Soon Is Now?It begins with some moody spoken word verses but the chorus is belted out by Yolanda Quartey, who is fast becoming a common occurrence in these GASS songs. Not that I’m complaining. After about 2 minutes some weird drum n’ bass crops up, that in turn makes way for a classic rock guitar solo. I didn’t like the song at all the first time I heard it but after repeated listens I like it a lot more. Gingers’ songs are funny like that.
The final song of the new songs is Brand New Original Sin and it’s probably the closest sounding to The Wildhearts that any of the GASS songs have been so far It’s a straight-forward rock song with a big chorus and an off kilter middle section with some stoppy starty riffing just like The Wildhearts used to do.
The first of the rarities is a song called Shine that was scheduled for a supergroup Ginger was invited to join. It’s big Arena Rock like Nickelback etc. It’s an okay song, nothing special. Ginger’s vocals really don’t suit it though, unfortunately. He doesn’t quite have the power to belt out the choruses and, on the quiet verses, he sounds a bit… simpering. Like others of these unreleased tracks it’s at least interesting to hear even if it’s ultimately not that great.
Superpowered Superfly is a short acoustic demo of a song Ginger wrote for Michael Monroe. I haven’t heard the finished song (that features on 2011’s Sensory Overdrive) but this demo hints at a belter of a song, it’s perky, upbeat and has a good, singalong chorus.
3 out of 5 – Decent. Getting there.
Best Track: The Pendine Incident
The three songs released in October as the 6th instalment of GASS are different to those of previous months in that they’re all performed by the same core line up: Ginger, Chris Catalyst, Jon Poole and Denzel. It’s nice to see a proper band for a change, if only briefly.
Don’t Stop Loving The Music is the first song and harks back to the days when Ginger was parading as Silver Ginger 5. It’s a buoyant Glam Rock track with a big chorus and infectious guitar melody. Lyrically, it’s a rant about how the record labels are finding new ways to squeeze money out of folk now that nobody buys albums anymore and how we should just try to focus on what the important thing is (clue: The music. It's the music).
The Whiskey And You is a bizarre song. It’s a cover of a song made famous by, one of my mother’s favourites, be-Stetsoned Country star, Tim McGraw. That’s fair enough but, and this might just be my shitty laptop, it seems to have that weird whitewash production The Wildhearts used on Endless Nameless all over it. It comes across as a more of a psychedelic meander rather than a lonesome Country ballad. It’s not bad by any means just, weird.
The final song is Ostracide and is a driving rock song that deals with breakdowns of friendships (there’s talk on the GASS forum that this is to do with Ginger’s fallout with ex-manager Gav and ex-bandmate Victoria. This certainly fits the lyrics but whether it’s the case or not who knows). The song itself is a good one but the final powering riff is the highlight. It reminds me of AC Rocket by Scottish punk band Foil, which The Wildhearts once covered, A staccato chugging riff just like riffs ought to be. Chug.
The first of the rarities is another cover, this time it’s Blood Lust that was originally by Venom. It’s pretty faithful to the original and Ginger sounds almost unrecognisable as he roars his way through it. It’s a glorious burst of metal and sounds like it was a lot of fun to record. It’s certainly a lot of fun to listen to.
The last track is another that was written for Alice Cooper that Alice Cooper never recorded. This one is the peculiarly titled Molly O Lindy. It’s a mini epic that starts slow and ominous until the chorus when the guitars chime in and pound away until the slow, ominous verse fades back in. There are some really nice strings toward the end of this and, like the earlier song intended for him, Friction In My System, you can easily imagine Alice sneering his way through it.
So now G.A.S.S. is halfway through, 18 new songs and 12 unreleased ones, and it’s produced some of Ginger’s best work and some really interesting insights into his musical past. I’m really, really looking forward to hearing the next six instalments.
3 out of 5 – Decent. Getting There
Best Track – Blood Lust
If any of you are bothered enough, here’s Tim McGraw’s take on The Whiskey And You
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Read review of Month 1 HERE
Read review of Month 2 HERE
Read review of Month 3 HERE
Read review of Month 4 HERE