CJ Wildheart “Mable”
It may have been seven years since his first solo album but he has certainly been busy. Somewhat unusually not only is he releasing an album but has just launched his own range of Chilli Devil Sauces! Sadly we haven’t been sent a bottle of Devilspit to review so will have to stick with this album for now. “Mable” was firstly available via a pledge music pre order campaign but thankfully it is now available to all. You will certainly want to get it, as it is full of cracking power pop and rock tracks.
Opening track “Better Late Than Never” is actually a good intro to the whole album as it’s a futuristic sounding pop rock number. Lighter and brighter than The Wildhearts, in fact a bit more like Ginger’s recent Hey! Hello! Project. “Always Believe Her” has the same futuristic and almost electronica intro, which could almost be a Lady Gaga song! It then moves on to an awesome pop punk song that is as infectious as anything CJ has done with any of his previous bands, “Kentucky Fried” keeps the more day glow feel going, despite the rebellious words.
There is more of a grungy guitar line on “Down The Drain” that we came to expect with The Wildhearts but this has a dirtier more punk edge. Songs like “Next To You” and “Vitriol” have that same ‘edge’ but also have CJ’s trademark more joyful chorus.
Later on, “Come With Me” is a swaggering modern rock song that could easily feature on U.S. rock radio. It almost has a psychedelic feel which makes it reminiscent of Enuff Z Nuff around their darker ‘Tweaked’ days. Whilst “State of Emergency” is yet another huge fun filled song with an upbeat melody which in a fair world would bring great commercial success.
CJ shows he is still prepared to mix things up where “Devil” sees an almost industrial twist added to the sound which gives the whole song a slightly darker tone. Then “Midlife Crisis” ends it all with an awesome pure pop rock tune with a huge melody, complete with accompanying hand claps.
In some ways, it seems a shame that CJ will forever be associated with his previous bands. However, given he has retained that bands name in his own title it perhaps suggests he is willing to accept this. The fact is, very much like The Jellys and Honeycrack,this album is good enough to stand on it’s own two feet. It may lack the madness of some of The Wildhearts’ material, but this is more than compensated for by being chock full of great pop rock tracks. It would be really great to see this release generating some traction so CJ can be rewarded for his long standing service to producing great rock songs with more than a splattering of pop inspiration.