The Wildhearts Co-founder CJ Wildheart has not been idle following the band’s hiatus. With Lives, which was released on 9 September, he has provided more than a standard ‘best of’ album. As well as his time with The Wildhearts, Lives covers work from his solo years, alongside some choice cuts from Honeycrack and The Jellys.
CJ Wildheart – Lives
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Paul Hutchings
“We regret to announce that due to ongoing issues within the band,” a Wildhearts statement read, “we will be taking a hiatus. In light of this decision, all future live shows will be cancelled. We apologise sincerely to our fans, friends, families and work colleagues for any inconvenience this may cause. We can’t thank you enough for your continued support over the years.”
That was the statement that The Wildhearts released back at the end of March, and which caused a ripple of concern throughout the band’s vast fanbase worldwide. Since then, we’ve seen various members of the band embark on different projects, with Ginger continuing to pursue solo projects.
Critical of compilations with “no thought put into them”, CJ has carefully curated this collection and remixed and/or rerecorded each of the tracks. Aided by Bullet for My Valentine drummer Jason Bowld, Lives is a varied and enjoyable journey through the career of a well-respected and talented musician.
With 20 tracks and a run-time of 74 minutes, it’s certainly a value-for-money release. For those who may not be as familiar with CJ’s work as the hardcore fan, then there is plenty to pique the interest.
Go Away and Sitting At Home from Honeycrack are given a new working whilst the punk-pop of The Jellys in Lemonade Girl, and Milk N Honey instantly recall hot, sweaty, bouncy club gigs.
The Wildhearts get three tracks, including the anthemic Little Flower, which many of us will have enjoyed at a Wildheart gig or two. It’s an uplifting track, guaranteed to get the crowd moving, and this vibrant version is no different.
The rest of Lives focuses on reworkings of CJ’s solo music. Again, there is plenty to enjoy, with the alt-rock of Itch, the thrashing power of F.U.B.A.R and the seven-and-a-half-minute epic Midlife Crisis demonstrating the versatility of the man.
Many of the songs are faster, punchier, and fierier than the originals, making this an essential release.
For CJ Wildheart, already working on his new solo work Split, Lives is a reminder that there is plenty more in the tank from a real rock n roll legend.
You can catch CJ, along with former Wildhearts bandmates Ritch Battersby and Scott Sorry, tonight at Concorde 2, Brighton, on 23 September at Brook, Southampton and on 24 September at XOYO, London.