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| 1 May 2014 | Reply

April 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Ginger Wildheart - Albion cover

Ginger Wildheart has not only been responsible for some of the best, most beloved hard rock music of the past couple of decades since he staggered and swaggered into a studio with The Wildhearts, but in the past couple of years he’s even found himself – gulp – hot property!

First, is crowd funded Pledge Music campaign for a solo album was 555% over subscribed – giving the ensuing triple album it’s eventual title and cementing his independence in being able to stay connected to his worldwide cult fanbase.

Secondly, the Hey!Hello! project with New York beauty Victoria Liedtke was similarly funded on the same platform and both releases burst at the seams with fantastic material – Hey!Hello! rated on top of my best album list for 2013, 555% at #3 for 2012, such is their quality. There was also the Mutations project featuring some more extreme music.

Albion is a different beast, though. A difficult beast. Ostensibly a band production rather than a purely solo album, the band in this case seems to have over-egged the pudding – a case of too many cooks, perhaps?

There’s some catchy bits and pieces – opener Drive, Chill Motherfucker, Chill, the bouncy Body Parts. There’s some tangential experiments too – Grow A Pair, featuring Liedtke’s sublime vocals, is a dance rock excursion, Cambria takes the loud, quiet, loud concept to an extreme, and the meandering title track that closes the album tries to find an identity through sections which could be nods to Rush, Meatloaf, Sparks and more uncharted territory.

Albion certainly doesn’t suck by any stretch, but something indefinable is missing. A spark, a thread… or maybe the songs just aren’t in the same league as the immediately catchy tracks of those last couple of projects – songs which channelled his love of Cheap Trick and Jason & The Scorchers. The packaging of the pledged album, though, is a masterpiece – hard bound, with lavish artwork throughout, it’s proof that there will always be a place for physical product.

Ginger is a mercurial fella at the best of times – whether relinquishing some control to a collective just isn’t the best way for him to work, or he needed to get some more experimental tunes out of his head, Albion is sure to be appreciated further down the track as an interesting pit stop in a career which has been as adventurous and occasionally challenging as prolific.

Category: CD Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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