The countdown to the latest anniversary tour by The Wildhearts is almost up; it’s nearly time to dig out the smiley bones attire! The band will be celebrating the 20th birthday of ‘PHUQ’ across the country by playing the album in full to fans new and old. There’ll be plenty of crusty old leathers coming out the wardrobe from fans who were probably at the original tour, but the band’s legacy and the conveyor of projects associated with the band that keep The Wildhearts name alive ensure that there are plenty of people still discovering this national treasure of a band.
So with the tour about to kick off; we thought we’d have a look back at the subject of the tour. The awesome second album proper from The Wildhearts that is ‘PHUQ’
Pronounced “Fuck” in case you were wondering!
As is a recurring theme in Wildhearts history, the birth of ‘PHUQ’ was not a smooth one…
Wanting to move away from being just a UK singles band, ‘PHUQ’ was originally intended to be a sprawling double album with lots of experimental longer songs and less of the instantaneous pop-punk that the debut album was crammed with. The record company had other ideas. You can hear the story straight from the horse’s mouth in the upcoming book penned by Ginger.
The backstory isn’t what makes ‘PHUQ’ the belter of an album it is however, that’s solely down to the fifty-odd minutes of music you get inside that purple velvet case. In fact, classic might be a bit of an understatement.
Despite the original album being chopped in half, it flows like a double port and brandy. Most of the tracks bleed into each other for that seamless and continuous piece of music feeling. It makes the album speed along with frightening momentum.
Released on the 22nd May 1995, this album is a breath-taking ride from start to finish.
Springing out of the blocks with the most famous track in the whole back catalogue; ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ is a live show staple complete with crowd “Oi, Oi, Oi’s” and that 2 second bit where you switch from the air guitar to the air bass. It’s The Wildhearts’ very own ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’
It’s the one that will hook you in to discover never-ending riches in the world of Ginger and co.
The fact that the record company wanted to release a shed load of singles means that ‘PHUQ’ is, for the most part, a very direct and instant album. It should only take you one or two listens to decide whether you like it or not. There aren’t many reasons why you wouldn’t like it though. That would just make you silly.
‘Just In Lust’ and ‘Nita Nitro’ combine pretty much everything that is glorious about The Wildhearts. Catchy pop songs delivered with punk attitude but with a backbone of massive riffs. The riffs, oh good lord the riffs! Ginger has been churning out new riffs for decades at the rate of about two per day, but the riffs on the first few Wildhearts albums are just outrageous.
Take the dreamy beginning of ‘Jonesing For Jones’ for example. It fades in all nice and politely before that towering riff breaks your daydream. ‘Caprice’ has the sort of riff that could subliminally tell you to quit your job and follow your dreams if you’re not careful and when ‘Naivety Play’ crunches into action… it’s enough to make you choke on your cornflakes.
Heavy, unrushed, unforgiving but oh so catchy and extremely likely to have you leaping around your kitchen like a pillock; The Wildhearts in full flow can seem like the best drug going.
‘Lily’s Garden’ will give you some respite from the relentless headbanging but even this track has towering guitars that will sweep you up in a euphoric tornado before the brilliant ‘Getting It’ smacks you square in the teeth again.
In the live show, that’ll be the prompt for the biggest sing-along of the night.
“Don’t worry ‘bout me…”
‘PHUQ’ is a standout album from a rich plethora of mid-nineties rock that deserves celebrating with the biggest party possible. A true classic that is more than worthy of the anniversary treatment.
Catch The Wildhearts (and this awesome album) on tour in September!