Review by Shayne McGowan
Renaissance Men is the first album of original studio material that The Wildhearts have released in a decade. Is it good? Yes! Is it the best thing they’ve ever released? Hell yes!
It’s not only been a decade since they released new music, its basically been a decade since key members Ginger and Danny McCormack have even spoken, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that the band might have some rust in them. That is not the case at all.
Dislocated opens up proceedings with a riff heavy rocker that shows Ginger really stretching his vocal range. He screams, yells, and sings with emotion. Its not just Gingers range getting a work out either. The band cover a lot of bases here, on one of the longer album tracks. It’s a great opener that really sets the pace.
Let Em Go is anthemic in its delivery. It’s a rock song, with punk rock leanings, but when that chorus kicks in you’ll be singing along. The title track is up next, and this is a made for radio tune, full of melody and harmonies. The Wildhearts certainly seem to be having the time of their lives on this song, and as the listener, so am I.
Fine Art of Deception has a fat bass line that bounces along, and those “bullshit” gang vocals are a lot of fun. Diagnosis is much like Dislocated, in that it sees the band really combining a number of different styles, and again, Ginger is really pushing himself as a vocalist.
My Kinda Movie is a blistering rock song, with vocals that could be the bastard child of Lemmy and Scott Weiland. The guitar riffs are sleazy, and the solo is excellent. A definite highlight of this record for me. Little Flower wastes no time in getting started, and keeps the pace of a sleazy rock and roll song for its duration. There are some interesting vocal effects used throughout this one, and as unnecessary as they may be, they do no harm.
Emergency (Fentanyl Baby) is a frenzied punk rock advert for the dangers of prescription medication, while My Side of the Bed is a rollicking bluesy number. The Wildhearts know just what to do, and what not to do for the greater good of a song. The use of hand claps here is perfect.
Pilo Erection closes out the album, and while it’s not a bad song, it’s definitely the least memorable song of a very good bunch.
Lyrically the band is addressing social issues such as health and well being, relationships and drugs as if they’re now very mature elder statesmen of rock, but musically they deliver a very catchy, and definitely rocking good time.
Renaissance Men is a must listen for fans of rock n roll.