Review Summary: Not perfect, but certainly better than it had any right to be. Worth the free download.
Ahh yes, washed-out rockstars. Time and again we have heard the stories about this particular breed of human being - how, finding themselves in the throes of irrelevance and with no skills in any other area, they do the most outlandish things in a bid to regain a shred of their former glory. And now, reality shows and style-crossing experiments just got joined by an entirely new solution: free, legally distributed web music.
Hence Ten (Two)
, the new, entirely free b-sides compilation from Ginger Wildheart, leader of the band with the same name. However, in the battle against the Bret Michaels and the Ozzy Osbournes of this world, Ginger finds himself wielding a couple of advantages;:first of all, the Wildhearts earned a little more respect with "serious" music fans than the likes of Poison; and second, the free album "Ginger & Friends" put out is actually not half-bad.
In fact, Ten (Two)
begins to earn points by merely being a laid-back experiment, a result of Ginger and his producers being unwilling to throw away the leftover tracks from the Ten
sessions. This isn't meant to be taken as a grade-A product, and the Bandcamp upload proves just that; instead, Ten (Two)
should be seen as a relaxed offer to their fans, and to anyone else who might stumble across the record and be interested in knowing what this aging rockstar has to offer. And, in that sense, it works, however imperfectly.
unsurprisingly sees Ginger depart from his proto-glam glitter-rock sound to explore other, less expectable areas of the music world. Most of the album is still taken up by bombast glitter-rock, adorned by horn sections and female choruses; however, some songs include less predictable details which both add to and detract from the album. And while the ultimate impression is positive, this might be a slightly difficult album to get into, seeing as it is riddled with small but easily avoidable flaws.
The first of these flaws is Ginger's desire to cram every single idea into a song. This is particularly visible in the first two tracks, which far exceed their ideal duration and get lost in pointless jams and sudden swerves that ultimately lead to nowhere but boredom. Things start to improve with Drunken Lord Of Everything
- a short, melancholy semi-acoustic ditty - but somehow the album never manages to rise above listenable mediocrity.
Which is not to say there aren't enjoyable moments on this album. After Drunken Lord Of Everything
, the album slowly rises, until it reaches its peak on the back-to-baclk sequence of Monkey Zoo
and This Bed Is On Fire
. The first is another melancholy track which mixes Beatlesque vocal harmonies with a nearly industrial feel, while the second starts off as a Bret Michaelsian attempt at punk-pop before developing into a cheeky Alice Cooper-esque 80's glam track. From here until the end, almost every song ranges from listenable to good, with the sprightly and rambunctious (Whatever Happened To) Rock'n'Roll Girls
providing another standout. And while there are still some clear mis-steps - such as the woeful GTT
- which sounds to all the world like a Prodigy remix of a Milli Vanilli backing track - this final stretch of the album makes the final result rocket skyward and, together with Ginger's knack for a cheeky turn of phrase, turn Ten (Two)
into an enjoyable listening experience.
Still, let's not delude ourselves - this album is not, and will never be, a great album. But for a b-side compilation from a washed-out artist - and free, to boot - it is better than it had any right to be. Give it a download and see for yourself; the worst that can happen is you wasting half an hour of your time.
This Bed Is On Fire
(Whatever Happened To) Rock'n'Roll Girls
Download it legally and for FREE here