With live albums, many bands stick to the traditional formula and leave little room for surprises, but with "Tokyo Suits Me", from The Wildhearts, you get all the energy, vibe and attitude these four lads can muster.
Fronted by singer, lyricist and guitarist Ginger, The Wildhearts have a few official albums under their belt but fell victim to more unofficial releases by greedy record companies and others with good intentions. The band's best offer was the release of CD singles with two or three unreleased b-sides tagged on as an added bonus. They always do something special for their loyal fans.
Their debut album, "Earth vs. The Wildhearts", was released in 1993 and was a prime example of hard-rock ear candy, a 12-song opus that broke all the conventional rules of musical political correctness and put the band on the map. Two years later, the aptly titled "P.H.U.Q" climbed to the top of the U.K. charts at No. 6 with the tagline, "Contains language that some people may find offensive, even though they use it themselves."
Controversial, daring and dangerously different, The Wildhearts could have been the next big thing, but by refusing to follow the bullying of clueless record companies and keeping true to their diverse musical style, they became a cult sensation throughout the United Kingdom and Japan. When The Wildhearts finally toured Japan for the first time in 1995, the band became as big as The Beatles, but only on an international level. Few people heard their diverse style of music in the United States.
The Wildhearts brought a refreshing sound back into a stale music scene, a la Nirvana, but this time around, the music was extremely catchy, aggressively upbeat and melodic. The Wildhearts are a unique hit-making machine because they combine the best elements of pop, rock, country and heavy metal, and blend them together to create the ultimate musical mix.
"Here it is, our only official live album," Ginger says in the liner notes. "It ain't pretty and it certainly ain't glossy; we'll leave that to the Americans."
"Tokyo Suits Me" kicks off this tradition with one of the band's biggest hits, "I Wanna Go Where The People Go" from P.H.U.Q., the ultimate sing-along song with a great chorus. Other tracks like "Nita Nitro" and "Everlone" fire up the proceedings with razor-sharp crunchy guitar riffs and sweet infectious melodies. "Caffeine Bomb", "Nothing Ever Changes But The Shoes" and "Suckerpunch" hit the rowdy crowd like an uppercut from Mike Tyson and keeps them screaming for more.
"29 X The Pain" heals all wounds with creative lyrics that pay homage to various rock bands -- lost heroes of misspent youth. One in particular is the late Kurt Cobain, with "I want to be here once again / I'm gonna miss Kurt Cobain / like 29 X the pain." This time around, Ginger changes the content with "I'm gonna miss you all, Japan" an ode of sentiment to Tokyo, a place where The Wildhearts were always welcomed with open arms, and by the sounds of Tokyo Suits Me, it was a comfortable hug.
By Matthew F. Tritico