In the wake of his sometime bandmate Ginger’s series of super-successful Pledgemusic campaigns, CJ Wildheart recently launched his own project through the crowd funding site and the result, an album by the name of Mable, has now dropped through my letterbox.
From the off the album is just what you’d expect from CJ If you’ve heard his work with The Wildhearts, The Jellies, Honeycrack or CJ & The Satellites and that is wave after wave of melodic pop-rock that seems designed to raise spirits and get rooms jumping, should it ever be playing live.
It pulls together a sound that, if I had to use other bands as reference points, I’d say draws from the likes of Foo Fighters, Weezer and Terrorvision to create a sound that is reminiscent of CJ’s work in other bands but is still all his own.
What I think really makes the sound unique is a glam-like stomp and swagger that comes through, particularly in the guitar work. This makes it all sound like a pop-punk band that’s grown up somewhat more gracefully than the likes of Blink 182 seem to have managed and without becoming as worthy and pop-political as Green Day.
A comparison to Ginger Wildheart’s work seems obvious but is somewhat called for and, in this regard, I am very torn. Certainly Mable is a far less sonically schizophrenic (schizophonic?) record than any of Ginger’s recent output which makes it a much easier listen at times, but, as to whether this makes it better or not? Well, my internal jury is still out on that.
While the first half of the album is all swaggering, bounce along sounds the second half does pull things down a bit, tonally speaking, and adds an extra maturity to proceedings. It is this that I think really makes the record, with album closer Midlife Crisis? in particular coming across as brilliantly universal, thematically speaking, while also being pop-rock enough to get people dancing if they don’t care to listen to the lyrics.
Predominantly recorded by CJ himself, with a few helping hands on programming and gang vocals, Mable is very much CJ’s record and sounds much more assured and confident than the CJ & The Satellites album and, despite it not being a full band project, I could picture these songs being played live, and I really hope that happens.
If you like pop-rock with a bit of a heavier edge and good honest songs then Mable is well worth a listen as its infectious upbeat tones are the perfect sound as we head into summer and festival season.
And to give you a flavour of the stompier side of the album here is the official video for Down The Drain made by the fine chaps over at Ash TV: