For those who don’t know, or couldn’t guess from the moniker, CJ is one of the founding members of The Wildhearts and played guitar on a few of the albums between the well-publicised shifts in line-up. Through bands such as Honeycrack and The Jellys, CJ has kept himself going along with a couple of solo projects, the latest of which is the Pledge-funded Blood.
Blood is a simple, to the point title for a blunt-force beast of an album. None of the ten tracks waste any time in making their point and the influence of the early Wildhearts material is strong – which for this reviewer is no bad thing at all.
Despite its poppy, bouncy undercurrent it was punk that really formed the basis of that classic sound and its influence is pushed even further on this release, partly due to CJ’s own voice. He does that “snotty Cockney” (yes, I know he’s from Colchester, but all these southerners sound the same, innit) accent very well, particularly on brilliant opener “Tea Leaf”. Most of the songs float around the three minute mark with the exception of recently released single/video “Kiss It” which zips by at under two.
The latter track, with its full-on “wall of distorted noise” feel and ongoing, repeated main riff reminds me somewhat of a speeded-up “Red Light, Green Light” (not so much the riff or the sound, more the feel), and there’s an edge of “Caffeine Bomb” to the latter parts of “Plastic Invasion”, but that’s not to say these are second hand tunes. They just exude comfortable familiarity… while they bludgeon your eardrums. The video for “Kiss It” probably didn’t cost that much more than the classic “Red Light, Green Light” one, either!
With distorted vocals, guitar wails and thunderous drums throughout, this is a wonderful, mad, tension-reliever of a collection. It’s fun, catchy, silly, angry and just a great listen from “Tea Leaf”‘s twanging, boppy beginning to “Lost in the Game”‘s crushing, heavy end.
Blood is out on October 20th and you can pre-order it now through CJ’s PledgeMusic campaign