Ginger Wildheart and Victoria Liedtke: Hey! Hello! (Round Records)
It’s been a busy year for Ginger Wildheart – here he teams up with Victoria Liedke to deliver some space dust for the ears – and Martin Haslam loves the results.
Having read Andy Santiago’s incisive interview with Ginger Wildheart, I have been looking forward to reviewing the album that us lucky Pledgesters have listened to on mp3 for some months now. My shiny, new cd dropped through the letterbox, complete with primary colour artwork by the legendary Frank Kozik and lyric/poster sheet.
Getting the opportunity to have Kozik create the album art delayed the physical release a little, but the art certainly complements the music within; bright, brash, in yer face and instantly memorable. This is the aural equivalent of Space Dust; it makes your ears pop with tunes, or should that be TUNES!? If you prefer Ginger‘s more extreme projects like Mutation, you might be reluctant to dive in. However, I think most of his followers love his talent for a melody, regardless of the genre, so let’s go…
‘Black Valentine’ greets my ears now like an old friend; it was the first track to be released and really is the sound of summer. A riff to make you pogo with a big, cheesey grin on your face. It sets the tone for the album; Ginger and Victoria share the vocals throughout and they suit the big, noisy pop sensibilities perfectly. Trading verses like a couple arguing; ‘I ain’t busy or nothing, I just don’t want to take your call, it ain’t the law, as far as I can recall’.
‘Feral Days’ reassures us, with a massive chorus, ‘Hey, it’s o.k; not all days can be beautiful days’. The guitars wouldn’t be out of place in The Wildhearts at their most melodic, but with Victoria’s voice, these songs stand up on their own.
‘Why Can’t I Be Me Without You?’ has the smart, hook-laden time signatures that I often associate with Ginger. He handles all the instruments on the album, and his drumming is perhaps the biggest revelation here; the songs hang on the drums and the sound is perfect. Recorded by Russ Russell at one of Ginger’s favourite studios, Parlour Studios in Kettering (up the road from me!), the album has a distinct character throughout. Big, shiny pop with an occasional acid tongue.
‘Swimwear’ takes a riff that Ginger had set aside for Michael Monroe, originally titled ‘Enter The Dragon’. Doubtless Mr Monroe could do a great version, but this is a poptastic clout round the ears. The shortest song on here, I suspect you’ll want to put it on again as soon as it’s finished. Altogether now; ‘Oh yeah! I’m in there like swimwear!’
‘Burn The Rule Book (Fuck It)’ pretty much sets Ginger’s music/life agenda to another earworm of a tune. ‘We had a funky little booze run, but now it’s time to get your shoes on’. Can anyone else keep up with the quantity of quality tunes from his fevered mind? It’s all here; Ramones, Blondie, Pistols, Abba…
‘Lock For Rock (And Other Sporting Cliches)’has some tongue in its’ cheek, ‘I’ve been looking for lines that’ll rhyme with ‘the weekend’ and getting stuck on stuff ’bout ‘going in at the deep end”. I assume it’s a sporting cliché; I know nothing about sport, but I do know something about music. So, I find myself singing a chorus that I don’t really understand, other than it’s great.
‘The Thrill Of It All’ has a hint of The Damned‘s ‘Dozen Girls’, which is clearly no bad thing, with a sprinkle of ‘My Sharona’. Mmm, nice. Oh, I love this song! There’s a good chance you will too.
‘How I Survived The Punk Wars’ will be familiar to some of you from its accompanying video. Ginger’s agenda writ large. Honest, passionate and good advice; ‘you know if a new tune is good or it’s shit, so, you want a good song, be prepared to re-write it’. And of course, ‘ask lots of questions, don’t eat the bullshit’. Absolutely.
‘I’m Gonna Kiss You Like I’m Going Away’ ups the pop ante. A nice, crunchy Glam riff, another immediate chorus. I want my guitar to sound like that! My ears hear Suzi Quatro and Bucks Fizz. No, honestly; it’s all good.
‘We’re Outta Here’ ends our time in this dreamy place with lyrics from a bee’s perspective. ‘They said ‘we’re outta here, we need a better atmosphere”. Screwing up the planet never sounded so good. A tip of the hat to Mr Tim Smith at one point; a little flavour of Cardiacs.
All words by Martin Haslam. More work by Martin on Louder Than War can be found here.