CJ Wildheart – ‘Blood’ (Devilspit Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Ben Hughes   
Tuesday, 29 August 2017 04:30

CJ Wildheart - Blood artworkCJ’s post Wildhearts projects have always embraced the poppier side of his influences. From CJ And The Satellites to The Jellies and on to Honeycrack, those albums were more of a sugar buzz than a brutal assault on the ears. So, when the man warned fans that his upcoming third solo album ‘Blood’ was taking a heavier direction, fans of The Wildhearts rejoiced.

 

With the man hitting 50 later this year, you could maybe put it down to a mid-life crisis but the fact that he was suffering health problems during the recording of ‘Blood’ probably contributed to the direction CJ veers in. You see, ‘Blood’ is a noisy beast full of punk rock angst, and it sounds all the better for it. Don’t get me wrong, this album is no Mutation, while ‘Blood’ is a wall of heavy riffage in every song, it still retains the trademark CJ ear for melody, but it is definitely the heaviest thing he has produced outside of the Wildhearts.

 

There are moments of spikey, bouncy power pop on offer for sure but they are few and far between. ‘Beak’ has the usual pop sensibilities I have come to expect from the man, a verse that builds full of melody on a jagged, dampened guitar riff. Sneaking in a rather fine take on Weezer’s ‘Tired Of Sex’ is one of those moments as well. But it’s the heavy stuff that really floats my boat this time around, with several songs nodding their head to CJ’s former band and I don’t mean The Tattooed Love Boys.

 

‘Gutless’ marries spirally guitar lines with intense, urgent beats and a “fuck you” attitude, gang backing vocals add to the rousing, anthemic feel as the anger rises. By the time you hit third song ‘Lazybones’, you are left wondering who the fuck has pissed this guy off!  A carnival themed intro lulls the listener into a false sense of security with a circus themed intro, before a wall of noise batters the eardrums into submission and we are in Wildhearts mode and not for the first or last time. Instant, killer chorus...check, different time signatures...check, urgent drums...check. Over seemingly as soon as it has begun,’ Lazybones’ leaves you wanting more.

 

CJ’s lyrics have always verged on the personal side and none more so than ‘50 Percent Indian’, where he covers his own early experiences of racism in his own tongue in cheek way. “I don’t have no money. I don’t smell of curry” he sings, as crunchy guitars play out early Metallica style teenage air guitar fantasies behind him.

 

‘Kiss It’ is heavy, I mean industrial heavy. Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about! it would fit in nicely on ‘Endless Nameless’,if you know what I mean. The following ‘Plastic Invasion’ opens with an awesome double bass drum attack and the ensuing regimental riffage just helps to destroy on high volume, try it, I dare you! With a more electronica feel in parts, the melody actually comes on like ‘Kentucky Fried’ from his debut album ‘Mable’.

 

 

Closer ‘Lost In The Game’ ends abruptly during a wall of noise in typical Wildhearts b side fashion, leaving the listener wanting more, and the play button beckons straight away.

 

With the help of the ever great production work of Dave Draper and the powerhouse drums of Jason Bowld, ‘Blood’ is a natural progression into heavier climes for a man who still has something to say, something to be pissed off about and is happy to embrace the heavier side of his influences. While not as instant as ‘Mable’ or the following ‘Robot’, ‘Blood’ does not disappoint and has proved to be a labour of love, an outlet for anger and a chance for CJ to get it all out of his system. Seemingly on a roll right now, album number 4 is already in production, and for a man who almost threw in the towel on his music career last year, this is something we should all embrace.

 

Get on over to PledgeMusic and buy it – and, oh yeah, while you are there I highly recommend you buy some hot sauce too.

 

www.facebook.com/CJWildheart/

 

‘Blood’ is released on 20 October.  You can get your copy HERE.

 

All content © Über Rock.  Not to be reproduced in part or in whole without the express written permission of Über Rock.