After the unholy noisefest of the last Wildhearts album, 'Endless Nameless', you’d be forgiven that principal singer and songwriter Ginger had lost the plot. Instead of the finely crafted melodies were walls of feedback, distorted vocals and noise. Instead of singable choruses were the fuzz of a 1,000 distortion pedals and the sound not unlike the Jesus and Mary Chain (minus pop sensibilities). After that I'd been dreading what Ginger would do next...
'Silver Leather Mojo', the debut album from Ginger as a Solo artist (after excursions elsewhere) proves that if that were the case, you needn’t have worried. Second only to the stunning debut 'Earth vs. the Wildhearts', this is simply the best album Ginger has ever made, and a definite contender for the best album of the year - whichever year that is that it gets released in the UK (actually October 2001, packaged with a bonus CD), because it's only been available as a Japanese import for over a year now. This is a criminal shame because every song here is a hit single in waiting, and not in the way of manufactured popstar rubbish neither.
From the opening 'Sonic Shake' to the closing 'To Love Somebody', this is an album of a supercharged melodies, pop sensibilites and pure exaltation. The opening 'Sonic Shake' begins with a crash of drums and guitarzz that sparkle and shine with a bounciness that every single nu-metal band lacks, then the biggest vocals ever come in that just make you want to dance around the room. If nothing else, the cynicism of Ginger of old has gone, replaced with pure joy and love. That sounds like a cliché but there’s never been such a loved-up album - not in the cliché-manufactured way but in the ernestness of it all. Ginger's writing has never been so refined or hook-laden. It's quite possibly the best, most consistent, debut rock album since 'Appetite For Destruction' – no mean feat, and no understatement either.
Ultimately, though, as Ginger says, he took this CD around every UK record company and all they said was “It's too bright” – it's too pop, too memorable, too “up” , not dirge enough or scutty enough. Whilst it comes across at times like a turbo-charged Transvision Vamp or Fuzzbox meets Hanoi Rocks while Sepultura and Metallica watch on, it's an album that if there's any justice in the world, would be remembered as one of the best albums of the year, and – like the 'Get Carter' soundtrack – one of those long lost classics that only ever came out in Japan, much to the loss of the rest of the world, and then took years to come out elsewhere. Fortunately, that’s been resolved and you should be able to get it in the UK at the end of October, packaged with a bonus disc of live tracks and demos.
Bright, bouncy, melodic, heavy, it’s almost the perfect metal/pop album imaginable, without sacrificing any of the rock'n'roll heaviness. Forget Britney Spears or manufactured pop rubbish – this is an album that's the total antithesis of Quorn/Linkin Bizkit and all that nu-metal stuff; it's an album that makes you want to dance around the room playing air guitar with a huge smile on your face. And really, that's what been missing from metal for years with the advent of navel-gazing self pity nu-metal... and with the advent of Sum 41 and Alien Ant Farm blitzing the charts, there's no reason why this album shouldn't be similarly huge. God knows it certainly deserves to be.
10Graham Reed's Score