A couple of years ago Ginger Wildheart released the four track Clout EP as a bonus for those pledging on his Songs & Words autobiography project. Now a physical, vinyl version has been released to mark the 10th Record Store Day on Saturday 22nd April 2017.
While I wasn’t able to get my hands on a copy of the physical EP I have had the tracks floating around my iPod since their original release but not had a listen with my reviewing head on until now.
While he is, in an explicit sense, generally an apolitical songwriter, the four tracks of Clout present Ginger at his most political.
Opener Nelson is as eccentrically abrasive as your likely to hear from Ginger away from his Mutation project and is an intense and deep sonic assault throughout as it presents the conflict between the image of men & masculinity and the perception of heroes.
Benn then switches gears into something that sonically is loosely reminiscent of the second part of The Wildhearts’ All American Homeboy Crowd.
With the only ‘lyrics’ being samples of speeches from late long-standing Labour politician Tony Benn exploring the position of the workers in the capitalist system, this is the most overtly political I remember Ginger being, though, while its point is fairly obvious it is presented without comment which is refreshing given the constant binary side taking of most political discussion.
The second half of the EP goes into more scientific territory but, given the current direction of discussion, particularly that coming out of America, even this has a political angle given the subjects chosen.
The two tracks are loosely linked as Darwin, as you might expect, tackles evolution and humanity’s place in the grand scheme of the natural world while You explores the ‘common miracle’ of our individual existence.
Away from the intense opener the other three tracks are slightly more musically relaxed but still retain the wall of sound approach. This makes it reminiscent in many ways of Ginger’s early solo work, particularly moments of Valor Del Corazon and Market Harbour, but even then, sonically, Clout stands apart from the rest of his back catalogue with You being the closest to his classic pop-rock sound.
While each track has its own message and sonic experience Clout comes together as an ultimately uplifting whole, challenging and probing masculinity, politics, science and humanity in a way that makes it a complete work that presents a world view in a noisily expressive way that stands apart from Ginger Wildheart’s other work.