CJ Wildheart - 'Robot' (Self Released) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz Tidey   
Monday, 25 January 2016 03:00

cjrobotcoverMan, I remember how gutted I was that first time that The Wildhearts split up. Who woulda thunk, as we mourned the would-be death of a band that truly deserved a 'most dangerous band in the world' tag at the time, that, almost two decades later, fans would be splattered with product from so many members that we'd be forgiven for, erm, coming over all Annabel Chong-like.


Danny McCormack's comeback album with new band, The Main Grains, is incoming, Scott Sorry's barnstormer of a record is teetering on the brink of commercial release, as is Ginger's 'Year of the Fanclub' collection, and, of course, there's the new PledgeMusic campaign from The Dowling Poole. Fans that like wood in their hands shouldn't be disappointed either, as both Bam Ross and Stidi are back with the reactivated Bubble and Drama Club Rejects respectively, but, if there was one album in with a chance of easing the virtual needle out of 'When We Were Kings' grooves at this early stage of the year, then it was 'Robot', the new album from CJ Wildheart.


I loved Honeycrack (who wouldn't?), bounced around to The Jellys (who didn't?), own every Tattooed Love Boys record, actually (who doesn't?!), but CJ solo, with 'Thirteen' (albeit with "The Satellites"), and then the essential 'Mable', just pushes my buttons. So, seeing as us Uber Rockers don't kiss arse for freebies like those other music writers and are willing to pay money for music, I sat just like every other fan waiting for 7pm to roll around so that I could get my download of 'Robot' from PledgeMusic. By around 7:35pm I was suitably blown away - who saw this coming?!


CJ, renowned for smearing his music in glorious melody, had peppered his new ten-track album with riff after riff after melonfarming riff! The opening one-two of 'The Robot' and 'Light It Up' smashed out of the speakers with full-on Wildhearts riffmongery and "Die! Die! Die!" lyrics. There's mention of a new direction in the words to that opening track and, jeez, if these slabs of heaving guitar work don't feel just like one. Sure, the songs fall into the effortless hooks that I guess everyone thought would be all over this record like a dirty rash but, coupled with the huge guitar, all I can think about is the birth of The Wildhearts and that sound clash of melody and monstrous riffs.


'Ctrl-Alt-Delete' sounds more like I expected the entire album to sound; a cute little electro backing unfurling into an infectious tune more in keeping with the de rigueur power pop-esque tunes in CJ's arsenal. There's a familiar feel to the chorus of 'The Box' too, even if it is enveloped by another tooth-rattler of a riff. 'Sleep Deprivation', though - fuck, it's as intense an experience as the subject matter: the longest song on the album, and in possession of, wait for it, a hurtling mid-section of 'Suckerpunch' proportions.


After 'Sleep Deprivation', for those afflicted, comes 'Delirium'; another stormer, with the ghost of 'Splattermania' haunting its chorus, then the 'Robot' gets 'F.U.B.A.R.' - you know how a song with a title like that is gonna sound, right? It's frenetic, furious, and fucking glorious, with a melancholic refrain to die for.


Tracks eight and nine lull the listener into a false sense of security, almost as if the album has blisters on its fingers after the riff assault and battery: 'No Rhyme Or Reason' is a gorgeous Fountains of Wayne/Honeycrack mash-up, and 'I Got You' doesn't stray too much from the path marked "Poptastic" either. But, just when you think that the album is gonna coast to its conclusion, the listener is startled, just like Messrs Patterson and Gimlin (allegedly) by a 'Sasquatch' - this one being real, very friggin' real as it happens, and very friggin' heavy. There's an alt. pop edge to the verses, but that chorus devoted to a Bigfoot is as massive as his monkey boots.

approved image lrg 2013


This will be high of my Albums of the Year list, make no mistake, as, like Evil Bill and Evil Ted, I have a full-on 'Robot' chubby!