The phenomenon we know as PledgeMusic.com has been behind many releases already and seem to be growing in stature and profile each and every month. CJ is the long-serving guitarist with The Wildhearts so it made sense that he would channel his energies through this avenue to fund his new solo studio album.
I say this because Ginger Wildheart has elevated the status of this website and principle through his own solo exploits. CJ was also showcasing a new super-hot sauce called 'Devilspit Sauce' which pledgers could purchase, but we're naturally going to focus on the musical element of his new campaign 'Mable'.
Album titles are interesting things unless it is an artist/band known for their chart-fodder, then they tend to follow predictable paths for the majority of the time. With this 11 track album, CJ looked to his back yard for inspiration and just beyond a wired fence minding her own business, is a special chicken amongst others that he owns. Yes, 'Mable' is one of his chickens and what an infamous chicken she'll become when more people hear this album.
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If you're familiar with the album 'The Wildhearts Must Be Destroyed' then you'll not be far away from the vibe and sound on 'Mable'. Although if you listen to 'Down The Drain' you may hear hints of Rob Zombie/Marilyn Manson within the instrumentation. I personally enjoy referring to the style of hook-laden music CJ makes as “Power Pop with Muscles!” But then again I don't have many hobbies.
Picking out highlights is remarkably difficult with 'Mable' thanks to its consistency and cohesive quality. Each and every track is good retaining a hook or two and generally placing the melody at the heart. Even the final track 'Midlife Crisis' (no relative to the Faith No More corker) sways to an obvious melody line.
In fact it feels like a nursery rhyme smothered in a wash of The Who (those keys...) and CJs novel pop-fused Rock music. 'Next To You' is as delicious as any curry I've had the good fortune to truly enjoy, compact and bijou with a bounce in its step.
The sun shines brightly on the summer vibes emanating from 'Kentucky Fried' and that same disposition is embroiled within the fabric that 'State Of Emergency' is made from. 'Devil' gets the accolades for being the longest track (just a whisker away from being four minutes long) and starts out like something industrial before growing in to its skin. The groove contained here is jarring and flowing simultaneously until it finds a rampant section where CJ sounds fierce. 'D.C.' starts out like Depeche Mode in the 80s before the familiar guitar and percussion accompaniment join in this infectious moment.
To summarise, 'Mable' contains 11 short tracks which have a satisfactory production which isn't rough and ready or raw, but what I describe as smudged sounding. (Hey, you try to put sound into words!) The songs are savvy with a nod to Pop sensibilities but they don't lose sight of their Rock credentials. It was enjoyable and really needs the sun to shine providing a highly suitable atmosphere for such melody and groove.
I cannot see too many crossover points where there's likely to be a mad rush from the various corners of the Rock music demographic, but if you're into hooks and a decent production without being too smooth and polished, then 'Mable' will make a good companion for a week or two.
I guess it's too obvious to make this observation, but I'm going to make it anyways; music is made thanks to mood and emotional state and is received ideally in the same way. So if you're in a good mood, the contented sort, then I can see this album making a wonderful bedfellow.
If you're unsettled and feeling angst in your life, then you won't get the best from this listening experience. Sure, there is attitude lurking around most corners lyrically, but the music itself injects a bouncy element and with the "whoa" moments added for good measure, you're hardly going to find it comfortable. Welcome to the summer with some tasteful attitude and a bucket-load of chicken droppings and catchy segments.
Better Late Than Never
Down The Drain
Next To You
Always Believe Her
Come With Me
State Of Emergency