The Wildhearts - Chutzpah!

I have to start this review with a recommendation for the Wildhearts' die hard fans… In order to fully appreciate this album, forget "Earth vs the Wildhearts", or even better, remember it and remember when it was released: it was a very long time ago. You won't find "Wanna Go Where the People Go" in here. Still, you're going to get yourself one of the best albums of 2009 and all of the Wildhearts undeniable talent. And when I say Wildhearts I don't just mean Ginger, as for the first time here the rest of the band had a go at song writing and singing, which is quite a step forward for the legendary Geordie outfit.
Selling without "selling out" it's a hard thing to do, there's a thin line between maturing and just maturing the need to get the bills paid. While I may be a romantic old school fan who still gets goose bumps listening to "29x The Pain", I won't deny this is a great album, and as much as it breaks my heart knowing by now that there will never be another "My Baby Is a Headfuck", I don't feel "betrayed" by this change and salute a band that in these X Factor days still knows how to be creative.
"Chutzpah!" is an album that will definitely get loads of airplay; each song will fit with the rest of Kerrang's playlist, without being just another Kerrang's song. It needs a couple of listens to start growing on you, then it gets through to you, and it's a big pot of everything you may want to listen to. If you've only heard catchy pop punk single "The Only One", where Scott Sorry takes on vocals, the rest of "Chutzpah!" will probably take you by surprise. Having different minds taking on the song writing means you can find pop, rock, punk, metal and much more not just in the same album, but even in the same song. "Tim Smith" is a hell of an example, where you get a hint of old Wildhearts melodies in the chorus, then guitars and screaming take you to a different place, much harder, faster and contemporary, to the point that I wouldn't recognise them should I hear it on the radio. "You Took the Sunshine From New York" is way more melodic and romantic from beginning to end, and "Mazel Tov Cocktail" is the most infectious, catchy pop riff you'll find yourself singing in the shower in no time. On the other side, you get darker atmospheres and louder guitars on "the Jackson Whites", "Plastic Jebus" and the title track "Chutzpah!", still retaining a melody, which lot of kids out there nowadays sadly seem to consider unnecessary. After a few listens, I'm growing particularly fond of "John of Violence" and "You Are Proof That Not All Women Are Insane", however this is one of those albums where you'll probably find a different favourite for every mood and time of the day.
I'm looking forward to seeing the Wildhearts play in October and I'm really curious to see how these tracks sound live. Obviously I'm also looking forward to my share of happy tears and goose bumps when the crowd will explode in that legendary "I'm Just a Mess", but then again, I'm this silly romantic cow, and doesn't matter how much I grow up and change (thank God), when something touches me that much I like to keep a special place in my heart for it.

by Cristina Massei

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It's no secret to anyone who has ever met me that I am a huge Wildhearts fan! I have been ever since 'Don't Be Happy... Just Worry'… all the way through the various splits and reunions right up to today, and I always will be!
I along with many other Wildhearts fans eagerly read the studio update blogs, which the band posted whilst they were recording this album and felt the excitement grow like never before. Although when I read that they were down tuning the guitars I did start to feel a little anxious, but then again this band have never really conformed to any particular rules, and they can rightfully claim that no two albums really sound the same (unlike a million other bands out there!)
So at one minute past midnight on Monday morning I was there at Amazon (among others after having a few problems) impatiently downloading my purchase of Chutzpah!, the latest instalment of Wildhearts history.
Now first of all, the present line up of Ginger, CJ, Scott Sorry and Rich, seems to be the most stable line up the band has had in years. Chutzpah! is this line ups third studio release, the others being 2007 rifftastic 'The Wildhearts' and last years awesome covers album, 'Stop Us If You've Heard This Before Vol.1'.
So how does Chutzpah compare?
Well let me just say; the boys are on form!
Yes they've tuned down the guitars, but to quote Ginger, "finally the guitars are in tune with the bass", and the songs still maintain that classic Wildhearts feel.
Album opener, 'The Jackson Whites' is a real; tour d'force, pounding along with a great riff, then mellowing for the verse, then a typical Ginger big chorus, and boy can Ginger write those!
Next up is 'Plastic Jebus', which has a deceitful opening, and slows the pace a little, but is still one hell of a track.
Following that is albums lead single, the Scott penned 'The Only One', which is a great modern day rock ballad I guess, with Scott turning in a great lead vocal performance.
'You Took The Sunshine From New York', is a beautifully personal Ginger track that would have fitted onto any of Gingers solo albums. It breaks the pace a little, giving you the chance to catch your breath, plus it's pretty commercial and could possibly make a good single.
And finally we have the albums closing and title track, 'Chutzpah!', which is great blast of pure Wildhearts energy.
Chutzpah is a really good album and deserves to bring the band (and Ginger in particular) the commercial success that they really deserve, lets face it, love or hate him, Ginger is probably the best and most prolific song writer in rock for the last 20 years or so!
One strange thing about Chutzpah is that although it's the most collaborative Wildhearts album to date, it's the one with the closest feel to a Ginger solo album!

The problem you get with The Wildhearts is that they are so volatile and could implode (as they have done so many times before!) at any time, but if god forbid that should happen, then they have given us probably their strongest album to date, and what an epitaph it would be!

Rating 10/10

by Barry Gennard

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