It’s been 11 years since The Wildhearts went their separate ways for the umpteenth and last time, and things are looking better than ever for them. A group that has always thrived on chaos, mishap and doing the exact opposite of what people never expected to stay dead, and 2019 rose from the grave Renaissance men was their best outing since their engineering debut in 1993, Earth vs. Wildhearts.
21st century love songs continues this hot streak at the end of his career. It’s not as immediate as its predecessor, but it’s not far. Renaissance men was 39 minutes of anthemic carpet bombardment. This has more than its share of uppercut melodies and knockout choruses – in the case of the Luminous Remember those days, he has several of the two in a single song. But they’re just as willing to throw a barrage of blastbeats like those who start Institutional submission or get out of the pop explosion Sleep for a quick blast of rockabilly. Look, it’s the Wildhearts. This is what they do.
This album title is a red herring. Of course the song 21st century love songs itself targets the traditional heteronormative ideas of romance (“A man needs a woman at the end of the day”), but like all of Wildhearts’ greatest songs, it’s really about supporting the underdog. Elsewhere, Leader Ginger pours bile on the ruling classes on Institutional submission and Directions, and addresses the close to home topic of mental health explicitly My head wants my death.
Most surprising of all is Sort your fucking shit out. ‘David,’ sings Ginger, addressing her young self, ‘You have another chance / So kick off your shoes and dance. Fury and sarcasm expected, but optimism? This is new for The Wildhearts. May they take us on the wrong foot for a long time.
21st Century Love Songs is available September 3rd via Graphite Records