Album Review: The Wildhearts – 21st Century Love Songs

The Wildhearts

Album Review: The Wildhearts - 21st Century Love Songs
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

After waiting ten years for 2019’s ‘Renaissance Men’, the creative juices have clearly been flowing freely for Ginger Wildheart, CJ, Rich Battersby and Danny McCormack during the past 18 months as The Wildhearts classic line-up return with another tub-thumper of a record. The band have bounced back in the live arena with shows at the Download Pilot (maybe move on from that one) as well as stellar performances at the Steelhouse Festival and Bloodstock Open Air. There is an energy in their live shows that is remarkable, and that vibrancy is captured in all its glory on ‘21st Century Love Songs’.

Whilst Ginger compared ‘Renaissance Men’ to the band’s first album ‘Earth Vs The Wildhearts’, this new album sees more resonance with the band’s second album, ‘PHUQ’. More flexing of the creative muscle, more time spent on the songs (one of the lockdown benefits) and an underlying subtlety that isn’t always apparent in the band’s frantic rock/punk hybrid output.

There are still many tracks here that will have you pogoing like a nutter at their gigs. The title track that opens the album, the balls-out pounding of ‘Splitter’ and the crushingly explosive ‘Institutional Submission’ all carry the cavalier rock n’ roll approach and gang choruses we all know and love. Hot and sweaty stuff for the new tour.

Elsewhere things are still definitely branded with The Wildhearts stamp, but there is delicacy and additional crafting that add just a little bit extra. The middle part of ‘Remember the Days’ is different, ‘Sleepaway’ soars with a glorious melody whilst closing track ‘My Head Wants Me Dead’ reminds us that those demons which Ginger has suffered with for so long remain lurking in those dark places.

But let me reassure you, ‘21st Century Love Songs’ is unashamedly The Wildhearts. It may not be as instant as the previous record, but repeated plays allow you to experience the wider influences and nuances that make this another cracking addition to the discography. And underneath it all, Ginger remains the anti-hero, and The Wildhearts are still wrapping it up in that belligerent attitude, with the big “fuck you” still front and centre.

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