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The Wildhearts Must Be Destroyed

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Album Review

After unleashing the cleverly titled Riff After Riff After M***********g Riff EP in 2002, English hard rockers the Wildhearts took their long overdue comeback trail into full-length album territory with 2003's The Wildhearts Must Be Destroyed. Problem is, it may not be the sort of comeback the band's few but fanatic fans were expecting. Sure, most of the old songwriting tricks (heavy guitar bombast, big pop hooks, cleverly snide lyrics) normally employed by prolific singer/guitarist Ginger remain unchanged — check! The band's inimitable ability to mix Cheap Trick bubblegum with Metallica heavyness is well intact — check! And the official return of much-loved second guitarist C.J. Jagdhar in itself pretty much validates the reunion exercise as a whole — check! But for all these validations, ...Must Be Destroyed is still missing a certain, crucial X-factor to help it attain the volatile, unpredictable spark that made the Wildhearts the most dangerous band of the mid-'90s. Opening number "Nexus Icon" is forceful enough, but, like subsequent, chart-minded numbers such as the "Only Love" (featuring Motown-like female backup vocals), "Someone That Won't Let Me Go," and even the not-so "vanilla" "Vanilla Radio," it feels rather predictable and one-dimensional. The abnormally pop-tastic (even by Ginger's standards) "One Love, One Life, One Girl" follows, and actually sounds like it may possess the legs to become a lasting classic in the end. But after screaming their way through the utterly forgettable sub-two-minute thrash-out "Get Your Groove On," the band settles into a long string of commercial rockers ("So Into You," "It's All up to Me," "Top of the World," etc.) that are virtually indistinguishable from one another and leave little to no sensory residue. Jumping to conclusions (and why not?), one might assume that pressure to score a hit finally rendered the Wildhearts safe as milk. But given the band's lengthy hiatus prior to this rebirth, it's more realistic to realize that ...Must be Destroyed finds the Wildhearts far too aware of themselves — probably because they were still just getting reacquainted with their old roles, and what it felt like being the Wildhearts.


Formed: 1989 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne and War

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Wildhearts were the kind of band that the British rock press has wet dreams about: creatively brilliant, completely out-of-control, and utterly doomed from day one. Led by charismatic lunatic Ginger, the group's turbulent career lived up to the highest (or lowest, as it were) expectations, with all the ups and downs of a roller-coaster ride, which, after numerous frightening twists and turns, finally derailed in spectacular fashion. But not before yielding a wealth of inspired hard rock and literally...
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The Wildhearts Must Be Destroyed, Wildhearts
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