Remember These Days – The Wildhearts

Right in the kisser. This one blows your speakers out on the first chord. No build up. Just a clang and a holler right off the bat.

“I miss this like I miss my dead friends, as I look at pictures of us back then”

Having peeked at the new albums tracklisting before it got here, one might surmise it picks up what the opening track put down without missing a beat. In isolation as the lead single from the hotly anticipated second album since the Renaissance (2.5 if you count the live album 30 Year Itch or the Diagnosis EP as cannon, and I count those like I count a billionaire on a hot tin jewel thief) it’s a slap across the chops for the first two minutes. This is a four almost five minute song, unt yeet there’s so much going on in it, I’m going to have to break some stuff down for ya.

There’s no easy rhyme scheme or trite lyrics here. This is from the gut stuff. Within that first quoted lyric above (the songs opening line) the new single has already referenced a deep-cut touch stone for die hard fans. Remember These Days has ¡Chutzpah! It really reminds me of that era of the band. The album that only really arrived as intended in it’s remastered and expanded form since 2019. It’s a masterpiece of die hard heavy rockers rock. Not pop rock with some distortion. I’m talking real mixed up, time changey, heavy, awkward (purposely so) and wordy. ¡Chutzpah! Is a missed moment in WH history. The fans who got it on day one could see the seam of gold laying in it’s geology. Those who Got It On Tuesday (like me) found a sprawling double album of heart on sleeve lyrics, muscular punk metal and more than a few storyteller diversions that go straight to the heart. ¡Chutzpah! is the perfect title for a heavy rock record of such Motörhead meets Prog played by Punks pedigree. That album is a top 3 The Wildhearts platter to many a die hard. Me among them.

The missing of friends past is a big part of the third act on that massive record. 21st Century Love Songs first cut to go public is in good company. I’m ridiculously excited by the prospect of this album. On the strength of the first 45 seconds of the new song this albums going to hit hard for long timer fans.

“As I look at pictures of us back then, up in the air, up in the air”

This bit speaks specifically to an In-Joke I had with a fellow bar tender in the rock pub I used to work in. Her name was Gemma (Brummie girl, absolute darlin’) and she worshiped the UK Britrock scene. Terrorvision, Feeder, 3 Colours Red, The Almighty, Therapy?, Reef. You name it, Gem was all over it. We had a running joke about how CJ and Danny Wildheart were part human, part helicopter. In almost every picture we saw of them in the UK music press back in the Earth Vs. PHUQ era (and there were a lot of them) they were knees tucked up guitar at arms length flying around the stage. Always shot midair “The Wildhearts are part helicopter” gag was a thread in the fabric of that time and place I hadn’t even thought about in 30 years. Then Ginger goes and writes that lyric and it all comes crashing back.

“Wouldn’t one more day right back then be everything you need now?”

Nostalgia is a powerful drug. There’s more than that at work here though. At the 1:15 mark the song does a bit of a ‘delic left turn. That dreamy sound that ‘floats down stream’ gets a couple of bars. It’s a nice breather for middle aged men getting their arses whooped by a mosh pit (see my other GWH post for the scene report on that particular sensation). There’s some classic harmonised backing vocals that would catch a whopper if they were Fishing For Luckies. Then after a swap meet of riffs and fills there’s a proper muscle car drag race of a guitar solo. By the time we’ve got to three minutes (the standard length of a ‘by the book’ pop song I hasten to add) it’s all gone a bit ‘Stop Motion Animation Score’. There are chimey notes coming from only one guitar and suddenly bags of space in the song. Room enough for a maquette in a trench coat to go dextrously picking pockets on a beautifully rendered model of a Parisian street in an artfully lit Švankmajer scene (or something).

“Just maybe you and me became everything we wanted to be”

Then it all comes back. You’re getting a pay off. A windfall of winsome heavy metal. We’re all clear on the fact our genre is getting old. Our upstarts are older than most pop acts, our milestones are so heavily celebrating decades (or half centuries) of release. Our heroes are dead and our enemies in power. But we still have the armies of the north. We still have The Wildhearts. Motörhead are gone. The Wildhearts scratch that itch. We all lost people. Thank the Dog (Good girl Maggie) these guys are still with us.

Maiden and Metallica may only do two albums per decade at best and they cost a mortgage to go and see. Worry not faithful mosher. Ginger, CJ, Danny and Ritch have got you. Soon, In a town near you we will meet again.

“Through edging greys we’ll remember these days”

Somehow along the way this band got taken for granted by too many people. It’s not too late. Show them some love before rock and roll is just a legend people tell their kids about.

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