Sharp, emphatic, intelligent six-track alt-rock EP from Swedish five-piece, Alicewell.
Hey! Hello! – Hey! Hello!
Before you read this review, I have a confession to make. I have been a fan of Ginger Wildheart since I never saw The Wildhearts support Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds back in 1992 at the Kentish Town and Country Club (now the Forum). We saw a band called “The Dirty Strangers” (I think that was their name) support Izzy instead and they were, quite frankly, shite! I hadn’t heard any stuff by The Wildhearts, but there were a number of folk in the place very disappointed that they had been booted from the bill, so it became my mission to hear them and thus began my love for all things Ginger!
In case you haven’t worked it out, Hey! Hello! is the new project by Ginger Wildheart and Victoria Leidtke, a singer from the USA who has appeared on recent Ginger Wildheart solo records. It is NOT available in the shops. Hey! Hello! is a fan-funded release using the pledgemusic.com platform. Pledge works like this. The artist will set a financial target of what is required for them to make a new record. People wanting to hear the new album will pledge money towards this and once the 100% goal is reached, the recording process can begin. This worked well for Ginger in his 1st pledgemusic release, the awesome 555% triple album. The plan is for Hey! Hello! to be released as 3 commercially available singles. However, to own the album you must pledge, which, at the time of writing this review, you can still do! It has recently just passed the 500% mark!
Hey! Hello! is a ‘noisy pop’ album and opens with the insanely infectious ‘Black Valentine’. Victoria’s vocals sit perfectly in the track and they complement Ginger’s own vocals wonderfully well. ‘Feral Days’ opens up with a rocking riff, so much for the ‘pop’, and has a chorus that invades your day and, quite pleasingly, pops into your head at random moments – “Hey, it’s OK, not all days can be beautiful days”. It is a glorious song!
Track 4, ‘Swimwear’ was originally written for Michael Monroe and it is very pleasing that it was never used by the former Hanoi Rocks man! At a mere 2 minutes and 16 seconds long it has yet another chorus with another uplifting, positive, message. “Enter the dragon, get into the light, well alright alright, it’s gonna be alright”. ‘Lock for Rock and Other Sporting Clichés’ is just brilliant. I can’t think of anything else to say about it. Pure, unadulterated pop infused rock addled brilliance! Best song on the album? Yes! Well, possibly, if it wasn’t for the other brilliant songs on Hey! Hello!
It wasn’t just ‘Swimwear’ that was originally penned for other artists, ‘The Thrill of it All’ was penned for none other than Courtney Love, although listening to it on here, it is inconceivable to hear anyone else but the velvet voiced Victoria Liedtke singing on it. . ‘How I Survived the Punk Wars’ has Ginger handing out his advice on getting on in the music industry and is possibly the most aggressive song on the album.
Hey! Hello! is a short album. 10 tracks long lasting 36 minutes, yet it demands repeat listens. If you think it sounds a tad short, well let us just consider that this is Ginger’s 4th album this year (if you count the 555% triple as 3 albums) and that Ginger has his 2 ‘Extreme’ Mutation albums in the bag already awaiting release in 2012! How many artists/bands do you know have the ability to release 2 quality albums a year never mind attempt 6 albums in 12 months! Make no mistake about it, Hey! Hello! is an extremely good, high quality album!
Playing all the instruments on this album, Ginger shows he is a multi-talented musician as well as being a fantastic song-writer. Having been a fan for 20 years, I am still utterly baffled that this man is not a genuine world-wide superstar. I don’t understand it! I never will. In my opinion, Ginger Wildheart is the best songwriter of his generation! Some of his releases have not been instantly accessible to me (It took me nearly 2 years to fall in love with ‘Market Harbour’ for example). However, Hey! Hello! is instantly accessible. It grows in your brain, it controls your psycho-motor functions, it wants you to hear it. This album also showcases Victoria’s vocals perfectly and the album would be less satisfying without her.
In my short time with RocknReel reviews I have never given a 5 Star review. A 5 star review insinuates perfection. I am finding myself trying to find excuses for not giving the maximum rating. ‘Mutation’ is out soon – what if that is better? Would my fellow reviewers rate this as highly as I do? At the end of the day, it doesn’t detract from the fact that this is a perfect ‘noisy pop’ album!