Less than five months since they release Renaissance Men, their first album in a decade, The Wildhearts are back again with a mini-album, Diagnosis, taking one previously released track and adding five new ones recorded in a more recent session (oh, and in between Ginger Wildheart found time to put out solo album Headzapoppin too).
Previously released title track Diagnosis kicks thing off and sets the scene well, I’ve gone into it already in my review of Renaissance Men but it remains a vibrant hybrid of AC/DC style hard rock and raging, passionate punk.
From there the rest of the record is tied together by a loose theme exploring mental health but with some great rocking tunes too.
God Damn puts the spotlight back on CJ and continues with the same heady mix of the band’s various sounds that fed Renaissance Men before A Song About Drinking brings to mind old favourites like Caffeine Bomb and Suckerpunch.
The First Time and That’s My Girl meanwhile head firmly into pop rock territory, albeit with the same edgy production of the rest but, with big hooks, solos and bounce along tempos, both should become firm live favourites, though I have to admit That’s My Girl probably grabbed me least of all the songs on the record.
It’s all then rounded up by LOCAC (I’m sure it means something) that switches to something akin to the band’s controversial late 90s noise-fest Endless, Nameless or Ginger’s Mutation project, with a heavy slice of tremendous noise rock that still manages to be catchy and if it ever gets a live outing should induce some frenzied action in the pit.
Once again then, on Diagnosis, The Wildhearts have continued to do what they pretty much always have, that being make music that’s hard to pin down but that remains uniquely them — combining poppy hooks with heavier sounds to great effect.
It also continues to show that their return earlier in the year was not just a one off and that their ongoing live shows are far more than the nostalgic celebrations they easily could be with a raft of great new material to draw on as well as the classics.