This was the Wildhearts second full album, released in 1995; despite being only 2 years at most since the release of Earth vs.
, it was considered a "long overdue sophomore effort" at the time.
The band lineup at this point was:
Confusing. To be honest, I'm not sure who (besides Ginger) actually plays guitar on the album. I know that Devin Townsend was used as session guitarist after CJ (Chris Jaghdar) left/was kicked out of the band in summer 1994, but I don't know if it's Devin or CJ's eventual replacement Jef Stretfield who is recorded on the album. Stidi (Andrew Stidolph) left sometime in 1994, earlier than CJ, and was replaced with Ritch Battersby. So..
Ginger - lead vocals, guitar, most songwriting.
Jef Stretfield/Devin Townsend - guitar, backing vocals.
Danny McCormack - bass, backing vocals.
Ritch Battersby - drums.
When The Wildhearts went into hiding in late 1994/early 1995 to write the proposed tracks for P.H.U.Q., they came away with too many songs. Rather than release a double (or even triple) disc as a second album, the songs were divided over several releases - their second album P.H.U.Q., a 5000-copy fanclub only release called Fishing For Luckies (later re-released, twice, with extra songs, as Fishing For More Luckies and just plain Fishing For Luckies, as a general release), and a 4-song double A-side single (which was really a four track EP) - I'll fill in these with links once I've reviewed them.
As always, basic Wildhearts info can be found in my [url=http://www.musicianforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=180227]first Wildhearts review[/url].
Anyway, P.H.U.Q. was The Wildhearts highest charting album in the UK (it reached number 6), and was called their best work by critics. As you can see, the band again insisted on a provocative name - Ginger says it's pronounced simply "Fuc
k!", which is how I thought it was as well, but I have heard some say it is "Fuc
k you". Another note on controversy - the original artwork for the inlay, by a man called Deen, was banned in Britain, and was replaced with similar art (in the same style). The original offending artwork is still in the Japanese edition of the album, and I have a later album of theirs called Landmines and Pantomimes (again, I'll update with a link here) which is a Japanese edition, and has similar art. It's banned because, although it's drawn, rather than a photograph, some of it bears a striking resemblance to goatse.cx..
As an aside, the first release of the album was in a purple velvet case (a copy of which I unfortunately do not have, though they're fairly often available on eBay), and then re-released a couple of years later, minus the velvet (still decidedly purple, however).
1 I Wanna Go Where The People Go
- 5:04 (single)
This is the song that got me into them in the first place - the opening track of The Wildhearts' second album has also been a pretty much constant opening live track since it's release, and it suits it well. It opens with a dual guitar riff, and if you go to see them live, you can be fairly certain of two things - that they'll open with I Wanna Go..
, and that they'll fuc
k up the intro to it at least once. It's been said by more than one that this is the ultimate sing-along rock song, and I agree - it's catchy, the verses are awesome to shout along with (the lyrics top-notch, as usual), and the simple chorus of "I wanna go where the people go" is great fun. There's even a bit in between lines custom built for the crowd to shout "hey! hey! hey! hey!" along with (tis tradition). The heavy outro riffing proves it isn't all about singing along, and always leaves me really pumped up.
Show me a hero, of head and heart,
Getting rid of the stars and the blah-blah-blahs'd be a worthy way to start,
Great are the cliches that go round and round,
I wanna be where the cunts like me are buried six feet underground.
2 - V-Day
The title refers, I think, to Valentine's Day. This is one of the songs I didn't particularly love at first, but it definitely grows. After the high-pitched guitar intro, there's something weird about the main riff, but I can't pin down what it is. It just sounds uneasy. The vocals, as well, are the closest attempt to singing anyone had heard from Ginger at the time; I think it works, but I could see how someone could think it sounds bit strained. I just don't mind it. I think maybe my main problem with this track is that I can't imagine loving it all that much live, and that seems to be the test of many Wildhearts songs, for me at least. On the plus side, the chorus is definitely catchy (in a hum-it-to-yourself-all-day way, rather than something you'd shout along to at a gig), and it contains the line "I'll make some sense if it kills me", which I love.
I'll make some sense if it kills me, and I'll be smiling on V-Day.
3 Just in Lust
This is more like it, another instant classic. The riff is immediately catchy, and the drum fills in between lines of the verse are cool. The lyrics are awesome, seemingly effortlessly describing the experience of meeting up with an old one-night-stand, as well as somewhat reliving the event itself. There's not much more to say really - the bridge/midsection's lyrics and change of melody is brilliant; basically it's one of my (many) favourite Wildhearts songs.
Of course I miss you, but not that much; we only shared a little human touch,
Nothing wrong or impolite - you're acting like pleasures got a copyright,
So-so-so-so-so backtrack, get the record straight; we only had a day to intimate,
No one signed on a dotted line - we never said there'd ever be a second time.
4 Baby Strange
This isn't a real song, it's just an intro in Nita Nitro
. That said, it's pretty good, as far as 50 second songs go. It starts off with a vocal intro, then lyrics that seem to be about dating a crazy girl (roughly the theme of Nita Nitro
5 Nita Nitro
Yet another classic. This starts with militaristic drumming, and high pitched, folky-sounding duel guitar (similar to that at the start of I Wanna Go
..they seem to like that on this album), before drums and guitar lead into the song proper. The lyrics are about being involved with a girl who occasionally goes crazy (lyrics call her "locos tambien")..this song is also a big live favourite, for several reasons - the drum intro, the effortlessly cool one word ends to lines (great to shout along), the "There is nothing like a person to remind you of yourself!" (ditto).. Great song all around.
Nita Nitro, say goodbye to everything we knew.
Say goodbye to the rock and roll, and welcome to the blues..
6 - Jonesing For Jones
This is the first of the slower songs on P.H.U.Q.
. It's kind of ballad-like, but only in style, not lyrical content - lyrically, it's as the title says, about longing for previous longings, longing for the past. Despite being slower, and altogether less heavy, than most songs, it's still one of my favourite tracks; in pure energy vs. pure emotion, emotion is winning for once. If there were enough room to handle a lighter in a typical Wildhearts gig venue, this is the song for which one would need handling.
I'm feeling warm and sated, a little dehydrated,
But that's okay, cos there's nothing in the way this time,
It rains when I'm dry, it speaks when I'm alone,
I can't leave it (I've tried) - I'm jonesing for jones.
7 - Woah Shit, You Got Through
In complete contrast to the previous song, this track is probably the most metal thing I've ever heard from the Wildhearts. It's short and fast, and has the most metal sounding guitars they've used (except for on Endless, Nameless
). The distinction I make between rock and metal is in the "feel" of the music. I know that makes me sound like a hippy, but try to understand, as I've tried to explain this many a time, and never really managed it. Rock music, as I define it, even when it is about a depressing or sad subject, sounds positive, somehow. And vice versa for metal. Regardless, this song starts with fading in guitar, increasing in volume (reminiscent of Turning American
from Earth vs.
), and then is pretty much short and fast til the end, with a swift solo at about 1:40. The vocals get a bit more sleazy rock'n'roll towards the end.
8 - Cold Patootie Tango
Again, this isn't really a song on it's own (though it's pretty good), but rather an intro to Caprice. It's this song pair, along with the ballads, which I think illustrates the ways this album is more mature than the debut, basically because they show a different side to the band, and show Ginger as a more rounded songwriter. This song starts with weird sounds..best I can guess, they're guitar or bass notes which have been recorded and are being played backwards. Anyway, they give way abruptly to some guitar, which sounds medieval, somehow. A riff then picks up the tune of this intro guitar, but loses the medieval sound. The rest of the song is much different to most Wildhearts stuff (it still has the metal mentality of Woah Shit.., if not the speed or heavy guitar). The vocals also sound very stark. It blends right into..
9 - Caprice
Not the model/attempted singer. The title apparently comes from a word which Ginger woke up one morning thinking of, so he looked up what it meant, and promptly wrote a song about it. This is another song which is a staple live track, though for some reason it is never played with Cold Patootie Tango
before it (neither is [i]Baby Strange/Nita Nitro[i], despite the latter also been an oft-used track). Anyway, this is much more back in the Wildhearts kinda style, much more upbeat after the preceding two songs. It's also stuffed with riffs, in the style of Everlone
or Love U Til I Don't
(of Earth vs. fame). The differences between those two tracks and this one, are firstly the songwriting (the more mature aspect I mentioned above), and secondly the vocals. Although the actual vocals are the same, the delivery coincides with drums and choppy guitar riffs; it sounds awkward at first, almost as if one or t'other is a few seconds ahead or behind of the other. Its grown on me though, and it becomes something of a challenge to sing along to the lyrics correctly. Anyway, especially combined with it's intro track, this is a rather beautiful song.
Well, I still got my music, so let's give that a try,
Sounds that can soothe you, and sounds that can move you and improve you, child..
10 - Be My Drug
This is the second of the three ballady songs, and my least favourite of them. Unlike the other two, which share common themes of longing for the past in one way or another, this one shares the subject matter of most rock ballads (i.e. love - or seems to anyway), and this isn't beneficial, I feel. That being said, the heavy (and heavy with emotion) guitar after the acoustic guitar and vocal intro is awesomely good, and I rather like the lyrics (though they're not as good as a lot of other Wildhearts tracks) as well, but overall, it's kinda disappointing.
Time, subtle as sunshine, I will rise, I'll abstain,
With patience I gain in a new lifestyle, to be rid of the rage
11 - Naivety Play
Like Show a Little Emotion
(see my Earth vs
. review), this is a track I have criminally underplayed. While it's not as great as that track, it's still pretty damn good. It starts with fading in guitar (see Woah ShIt..
for references), before changing tack totally to a good, solid, rock riff. The riff repeats itself alone, then is joined by the spoken lyrics below, before there is a really great moment. It's intensely difficult to describe..it's a gentle "aaaah", in vocals, but it kinda sounds really complete, a really full sound. It's just really cool, has to be heard before you can know what I'm talking about though..
Get ready-here it comes-aaaaah
12 - In Lilly's Garden
The last of the slower, more ballad-esque songs on the album. The name refers to an old woman who Ginger used to live next to, and in whose garden he and his friends would be allowed to play; so, it was a safe/happy place, hence the balladic nature of the lyrics. It starts with acoustic guitar, and again there is an emotion > energy feel to the song, especially in the guitars after the intro. Live (the one time I've heard it), it's very similar to Jonesing For Jones
, though I prefer the latter slightly.
Honesty will set you free, but individuality is wonderland,
The greatest gift provided, kept inside in case no-one understands,
Add animal instinct here,
When all is settled and done, there's just empathy chains,
The crowd was second to none, but the memory remains..
13 Getting It
The lyrics are simple (mostly "Getting it" with an adverb), and so is the music. It's just a good, fun rock song to end the album on. It's repetitive, and stops about a minute and a half from the end of the track when a female voice shouts "Shut up!" (3/5) Then, about a minute from the end, we get..
Hidden - Don't worry bout me
- the last minute or so of the previous track
This is short and to the pointless. :) It starts with the sound of a vinyl record starting to play (you know, fire crackling), then a simple piano melody comes in, like one you might get in a stereotypical bar in a film, and a gang of people sing together, like a drunken sing along. The title really gives away the lyrics..this is the song the fans'll sing when they leave stage, for an encore, so I like it for that.
Don't worry bout me, don't worry bout me,
I'll be alright, don't worry bout me,
Don't worry bout me (don't you worry bout me [/funny-voice]), don't worry bout me..
5/5 for being so damn useful live. As a real song, something fairly low.
gets a 4.5/5 from me, though if I weren't so averse to splitting scores beyond .5s, it's be below 4.5 rather than above. I think the different styles of song displayed here show that the band are capable of producing more than just the excellent and hugely fun rock'n'roll of that debut, but although this was often called, by critics of the time, the Wildhearts best collection of material, I think Earth vs.
has the edge.
- (general singles info to be found in my first review; link somewhere near the top)
I Wanna Go Where the People Go
(released April 1995)
1 - I Wanna Go Where the People Go
2 - Shandy Bang
3 - Can't Do Right For Doing Wrong
4 - Give the Girl a Gun
This is one of the Wildhearts higher charting singles, coming in at number 16 (their highest charter, Sick of Drugs
, got to number 14), though I can see that that's probably because of the title track, as the b-sides are good, but nothing especially fantastic. Shandy Bang
is a funny track. The lyrics and music, for the verse, are stop/start, and it's hard to tell what they're saying. The chorus is fun though, but I don't see where shandy comes into it. Can't Do Right For Doing Wrong
is better. The verse is kinda country/folk-ish, sometimes almost spoken word, but the chorus is more like full-on rock..the song isn't all that serious though, it's definitely taking itself lightly, and I like it. I also think it might be the song with the similar riff to And The Bullshit Goes On
, which I couldn't remember for an earlier review. Give the Girl a Gun
, if anything, has a kinda folk feel to it. The verses are quiet, and the chorus catchy, in a low-key way. Was released on CD, 10" vinyl, cassettes, and digipack CD in the style of a passport.
Just in Lust
(released July 1995)
1 - Just in Lust
2 - Mindslide
3 - Friend for Five Minutes
4 - S.I.N. (in sin)
This is definitely one of the Wildhearts best single releases, released on CD, digipak, cassette and 10" vinyl. Mindslide
starts off with minimal instruments, and immediately catchy rhythm, defined by the vocals. Apart from louder instruments, that's the plot for the rest of the song. I really like it. Damnably catchy, and there's a solo to lead out on. Friend for Five Minutes
starts off with a big mash of volume, from which soon emerges a fast, rolling rhythm, which gallops off for the rest of the song. The titles refers, I think, to hard drugs, probably cocaine, and the chorus is loads of fun. Finally, S.I.N. (in sin)
, despite being the weakest track on this single, still kicks ass, which says something for the quality of the tracks here. Despite not including my most very favourite B-sides, I think the P.H.U.Q.
B-sides are probably the strongest batch of singles (in terms of consistency of good songs) they've made.
As an aside, and this wasn't mentioned in the line-up bit at the top, temporary guitarist/backing vocalist Mark Keds (replaced by Jef Streatfield) makes his sole Wildhearts contribution on one of the Just in Lust
B-sides. He left before doing anything else because of commitments to his older band, Senseless Things.
Finally, a note: I spent over 3 hours doing the majority of this review, from Nita Nitro
to the start of the singles reviews, only to have my computer crash and lose the whole thing So I've just spent another four hours (in the same night) retyping all of that, as well as doing the singles reviews (the other parts were done over the course of 3 previous nights and were, mercifully, already saved). There's no reason for me telling you this other than the fact that it's pissed me off mightily.