CJ Wildheart - 'Siege' Album Review
1. Peking Duck
2. State Of Us
3. The Ones You Do Not See
5. Fruit Loop
8. Shit Brick
CJ Wildheart’s new mini album was written during the first lockdown of 2020 and is a reflection on CJ’s view of the world and his personal experiences.
Straight out of the gate, 'Peking Duck' explodes, ripping and snarling with anger. CJ is pissed off and he’s gonna tell ya why. “Kill the nation that is the news today”, “We’d better get used to it, the world stopped turning, we are burning”. I think it’s fair to say that this is not an album full of the mellow, Pop-Punk tones and sweetly sung lyrics of some of CJ’s earlier solo output. This is an album for the times, and the times we live in now are well, not showing humanity in the best of lights. At times 'Peking Duck' feels like it is on the verge of falling apart (much like the world and civilisation of today), only for CJ to somehow reign it in just as it’s about to go over the edge. It hints of Wildhearts-esque riffs and melody, only to veer sharply in the opposite direction with a decisive sense of purpose. In its most out of control moments, 'Peking Duck' sounds like it would be right at home rubbing shoulders with his fellow Wildhearts band member Ginger’s, Mutation Project. One thing is certain, this is not the CJ we are used to hearing from. 'Peking Duck' also features added lead guitar from Ben Marsden. Second song up, 'State Of Us' is the lightest song on this album and is also the lead single. That said, it hardly lets up in its 3 minutes and 10 seconds of lambasting all that is “Us”. The song is all Punk attitude, riding on a distorted bass riff where CJ takes shots at everyone and anything for the state of the world today. When the guitars do kick in, they sound huge and really punch through the sound. “We gotta wake up, move to action”, is the chorus’s rallying cry. The second verse is very intense both vocally and lyrically. Despite being a Punk sounding sound there are lots of twists and turns that I won’t spoil for you here. Side note, there’s an excellent video for this, you should watch it now.
'The Ones You Do Not See' is a poem written by CJ’s girlfriend and it’s the only co-write on the album. It opens with one of those immediate catchy riffs we’ve come to know and love CJ for. The first verse has undertones of Pop-Punk but there’s still a definite edge and anger in CJ’s voice and everything is turned up to the max. The song is very menacing with restrained anger, this is showcased in the choruses. At 2.42, the song takes a faster pace and takes a new direction before CJ drops a short guitar solo.
'Charles'… Drop the bomb, drop the bomb!!! Christ, CJ ain’t pulling punches here. One minute 42 seconds of what sounds like a state of emergency. The guitars are really edgy and could pass for air raid sirens (I love it). The mix is full on and it feels like everything is redlining, I think you’re getting it, that’s the point here.
'Fruit Loop' is about CJ’s frustrations at having to sign over his mum’s assets to services so he could get her into a care home at the beginning of lock down. 'Fruit Loop' is another one of those songs on this album that starts of one way and quickly mutates to something much madder. There are so many twist and turns that 'Fruit Loop' may as well be a roller coaster, one thing is certain, it’s a musical descent into the madness and chaos of lockdown.
'Iscariot' rips out of the speakers before sounding like the bastard offspring of CJ and Ministry, the bass really drives the verses of the song in an almost dark dance kinda way. On 'Iscariot', CJ is really going to town with quick fire vocals and some very disturbing background guitar sounds that are well just freaky (it fits in with the whole clown theme going on in this album).
'TP', which we soon find in this case stands for Toilet Paper. Well, errr it’s pretty self-explanatory but if you need it spelling out, let’s just say it’s about a certain element of society who are thick as shit knuckle-draggers and believe the world will be saved by buying, of all things, 'TP.' At less than a minute it gets right to the point.
'Shit Brick' sums up pretty much about everything shit about lockdown and how it affected people. CJ deals with isolation (amongst other things like buying shit we don’t need because we’re bored) and being fed near constant bullshit from a Tory government who clearly haven’t got a clue what they’re doing. Musically it contains elements of all the songs that have gone before it on 'Siege'. It’s a very focused attack and a great way to end the album.
At 24 minutes long you may be forgiven for thinking this is too short for a mini album, but the sheer level of intensity here means any more would probably be too much. It’s the perfect length for what it is. Plus, if you feel it’s too short, simply hit repeat, but if you’ve had enough, then its done the job it was intended to do. CJ has created a very dark body of work here that is unlike anything else he’s previously done. I think its safe to say people are going to be very surprised with this, but as CJ said to me, he’s glad he’s now got all of this shit out of his head. Do yourself a favour and play 'Siege' bloody loud.
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Review - Aleutia Shannon