15 August 2017
CJ Wildheart - Blood
CJ Wildheart is a bit of a legend on these pages in more ways than one! One of the founding members of The Wildhearts, The Jellys and the criminally underrated Honeycrack (check out their album Proziac, it is amazing), he has made some fantastic music over the years and is one of the nicest guys I have met in terms of musical heroes. In recent years, he has branched out and started to release solo albums ( side note - he also released one called CJ & The Satellites and I would recommend getting a copy of that one). Whilst we have only been able to review Mable (link to our review here), his last album was released in 2016 and called Robot. Whilst we sadly did not review it (sorry CJ), it is also a brilliant record and is a favourite of my old blogging partner, Luke Dunmore. But he has come back very quickly with his fourth release Blood. The album is currently only available on PledgeMusic, where you can also purchase some of his fabled hot sauces and ketchup, together with other bundles and exclusives! He has gone to town on this and the offers look brilliant (especially that hot sauce/ketchup combo). But what about the music? Well, according to the message at the beginning of the pledge, it is full of punk rock angst which is brought together with melody and riffs. Well, let us see if it keeps that promise......
01 – Tea Leaf
Not that CJ have ever been a man who is shy when it comes to swearing and introducing a catchy riff, “Tea Leaf” is a wam-bam, fuck you man to a con-artist who has tried to play CJ as a fool. It starts off lightly, but then the punk attitude riffage starts to kick in and it all kicks off as they say. It is the heaviest I have heard CJ in an awfully long time, which is never a bad thing. It also reminds me that I should never get on his bad side……
02 – Gutless
CJ goes for the jugular once again on “Gutless”, with a feisty tune about a two-faced person who has taken him for a muppet and is learning the hard way that CJ is not a person to be messed with. It has a classic punk riff that lynches everything together in a hypnotic way, with a song that smashes through your speakers and comes out the other end with a sense that there is more anger to come. I love this one, it is a real ear worm that you will never get tired of hearing.
03 – Lazybones
“Lazybones” is a song about trying to get your shit together with a massive kick in the arse, from the perspective of someone on the outside who sees someone is quite frankly taking the piss. The Punk is still here, but there is a dose of Metal added to the mix as well. It feels like you are rising and falling with the riff as it takes you on a frantic journey, flinging you in multiple directions with relative ease. It is proof positive (as if it was needed) that CJ has got so many riff and they are all brilliant. A true highlight for this album.
04 – Beak
“Beak” turns the energy down slightly, but the aggression is still fully on display as tales of struggling with the fact that someone is acting like a tool. It is an aggressive number, the riff is good and it hits all the right beats, plus it has a classic solo in the middle of it as well!
05 – 50 Percent Indian
A song about his past, “50 Percent Indian” is all about the racism that CJ experienced when he was younger. It is a hard hitting number, you really feel for him. It is something that should not have happened in the first place, but the experience has made for a great song. It is one that makes you think hard about how bad it can be for people when they are racially abused and it can also ignite a mini-mosh pit as well, a great number on every level!
06 – Tired of Sex
Sorry, I have tried my best, but I am gonna have to say this…. This one reminds me an awful lot of the Wildhearts. I know CJ have Wildheart in his name, but I am trying to focus of his solo work here. This has the feeling of a lost gem that has just been unearthed, which is not a bad thing to be honest. Considering it is a cover of a Weezer song makes it all the more amazing that it reminds me of the Wildheart! This to me, shows that he is not trying to deny where he has come from, but he adds his own sound to the mix on this one with a stomping tune about wanting to make love and not just have sex. The riff is loud, the vocals are brilliant and it all comes together in a little punky rock tune that makes the world go around and around.
07 – Kiss It
And then he does it again with “Kiss It”, this is a WH song in all but name. It is a sonic attack and lesson in getting your arse handed to you on a plate and being made to apologies afterwards. It is another short, sharp, vicious number that would bite the hands that feed it will all the fury of an angry viper. It does not let up one iota and it is over so quick as well, what a song!
08 – Plastic Invasion
A tale bemoaning the modern age and how we communicate with people (in private and public) on social media, something which is a bit of a hot topic in place as people just want to connect with a human and not with a machine. It is sometimes nice just to have a break from the constant information stream that we receive, which can desensitise us to other people and their feelings. I also appreciate the irony of this song in a way, as I am currently typing this on a laptop but that is beside the point here. It is strong number, it has natural lulls and a manic bridge section that is one of the heaviest passage of the album, as the guitar sounds like a thunderous machine. What more would you want from this song
09 – Itch
We have reached the penultimate song with “Itch”, a tune that I would like to say is open to interpretation. Musically it is another punk/metal stomper, one that is as good as anything that has come before it on the album. I love the energy on this one, it is such a grower that it will become a centre piece on any forthcoming shows that CJ might have lined up!
10 – Lost in The Game
CJ ends Blood with “Lost in The Game“ which thankfully keeps up the energy that has been central to this album. There is not a party feeling to this song, it is not euphoric in any way, but it does feel like it is going to march to the gates and start a fight by itself. It is a loud number, one that does not give two fucks about what anyone things as it tears its way your speakers that you have just reassembled after the last nine songs. If you are going to make a terminally pissed off album, I cannot think of a better way to end it – well done CJ, well done!
The thing I love about Blood is that CJ is embracing the future as well as acknowledging the past as well, something that some people are not able to do with ease. Blood is a punky/metal little upstart of a record, one that makes the angry teenager in me excited and wanted to bounce around with youthful exuberance. Time will tell where this falls in his overall discography, but for me this is his best work out of his recent solo album. It just hits all the spots that you want from a CJ record: it has attitude, style and above all – kick ass tunes that make the world a better place just for being in existence. There is no downside here, the only thing is that I wish it was slightly longer; but that is a personal thing as I did not want the album to end. I would recommend you join the pledge campaign, it gets the funds straight to the artist and it makes a lot of difference!
9 out of ten – Almost perfect, almost……
Top track – 50 Percent Indian
At the time of writing, the only place to get Blood is from the PledgeMusic website which I have linked here.
Whilst Blood is not currently available elsewhere, you can purchase the CJ Wildheart back catalogue on the CJ Wildheart Bandcamp page here.
You can follow the activities of CJ Wildheart on Facebook here.
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