The Wildhearts are rarely ones to follow trends, but you could be forgiven in thinking that Chutzpah!, the newest release from Ginger and company, was about to break that tradition with its honed production and hooky pop-rock stylings. However, few bands ooze charisma like the ‘Hearts and Chutzpah! remains yet another testament to their ability to write infectious rock.
Never having been a straight forward rock band, the tracks on Chutzpah! are as stylistically eclectic as ever. Although a lot of it can be described as modern rock with an early 90s flare, there are moments where you find yourself rewinding the last thirty seconds of a song in order to comprehend what just happened. Amusingly titled ‘You Are Proof That Not All Woman Are Insane’ seems to almost spontaneously combust at the end, with a mix of drudging heavy metal riffs and a corruption of children’s nursery rhyme ‘Frère Jacques’ being recited over the top. The introduction of ‘Low Energy Vortex’ quickly changes from a movingly unassuming piano chord progression to a heavy, almost funk-metal riff before fusing the juxtapositions together in an addictive chorus. The record is littered with moments like these, displaying The Wildhearts are still more than able to meld different styles together seamlessly and without alienating the listener.
The album is noticeably very well produced, with the instrumentation being polished to perfection. Musically, Chutzpah! quite literally shines with a great mix of crunchy sounding riffs and beautifully melodious leads accentuated in the best way possible. The only minor gripe with this is Ginger’s vocals seem to be overly clean. Whilst this certainly seems appropriate for lighter tracks like ‘You Took The Sunshine From New York’, Ginger’s rough-edged bite is unfortunately a rarity throughout. Nevertheless, each Wildhearts album seems to have a distinctive feel to it and Chutzpah! is no different in this regard, boasting possibly their fullest and most bombastic sound yet.
It is reassuring to know that even when most other music is doing little more than to distract you from (and worsen) your increasing tinnitus, The Wildhearts are able to rise above the filler. Chutzpah! will hold your attention from the abrasive opening of ‘The Jackson Whites’ to the tuneful end of its title track and leave you smiling as you inevitably play the album again and again.