A punchy, stripped-down reworking for the completists…
Falling off the wagon on 3 June 2016 and imbibed here by Ian “not on a school night!” Savage
I’ll guarantee there’s more than a few people who’ll get a little excited at news of a new Wildhearts album. After almost seven years of ‘will they / won’t they’ and hints both ways from both Ginger and CJ, it transpires that their first ‘proper’ offering since Chutzpah in 2009 is this, recorded live during last year’s PHUQ 20th anniversary tour.
The tracklist may look familiar to anyone acquainted with the band’s output (or who was present at the 2015 shows) – it’s pretty much PHUQ, in order, from start to finish. In these cash-strapped times persuading people to part with folding stuff for music they already own is something of a tall order; ‘hearts fans are largely in a different league when it comes to loyalty, though. So…from one diehard to another, worth the cash?
From a cursory listen, not really. There’s little of Ginger’s trademark scattergun wit in the inter-song pauses, and even the addition of lyrics to the incidental music between ‘Jonesing For Jones’ and ‘Whoa Shit, You Got Through’ initially don’t add much to the 1995 version of the LP.
But then, you might play them back-to-back. If you’re anal enough to do so, the mix on NO,NO at times actually outshines the studio one, with Ritch Battersby’s drumming in particular being leant a huge hairy pair of balls. CJ’s guitar is a totally audible backstop, and although you might find yourself filling in the odd studio embellishment in your head (I dare you not to sing the missing trumpet part on ‘Be My Drug’ at least once) it’s a punchy stripped-down reworking of one of The Wildhearts’ seminal albums.
With so many ‘hearts members having put out exceptional solo LPs in the last few months (Ginger, CJ, Scott Sorry and Jon Poole/Willie Dowling project The Dowling Poole) it’s actually quite hard to recommend Never Outdrunk, Never Outsung to anyone but the completists. That said, if you’ve bought and absorbed all of the offshoots this year it’s a pretty worthy addition to the canon; and if you were there in Manchester last year, grab it as a souvenir. For anyone who doesn’t own PHUQ already: get this version instead, and fuck East/West.
7 out of 10
- I Wanna Go Where The People Go
- Just In Lust
- Baby Strange
- Nita Nitro
- Jonesing For Jones
- Up Your Arse You Fucking Cunt
- Whoa Shit, You Got Through
- Cold Patootie Tango
- Be My Drug
- Naivety Play
- In Lilly’s Garden
- Getting It