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The Wildhearts - 'P.H.U.Q.' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 28, 2011    
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The Wildhearts' second full release.

Having initially been conceived as a double album (the longer, more adventurous tracks became this album's predecessor 'Fishing For Luckies'), the provocatively titled 'P.H.U.Q.' was The Wildhearts second full release and by the time it hit the shelves in 1995, the cracks within the band were already beginning to become really obvious. Rich Battersby was now manning the drum stool, with both Stidi and Bam (no, not characters from The Flinstones) having flitted in and out of the band for (almost) the last time, guitarist CJ being unceremoniously shown the door during the recording of the album and Ginger going public about having considered suicide. Not that you've have known from the quality of the music on show. 

Personally I don't think that 'P.H.U.Q.' quite matches either 'Earth Vs The Wildhearts' in terms of vitality or raw aggression, or the scope and variety of the song writing on 'Fishing For Luckies', however it does have to be said that the more straight forward song approach of the majority of the tracks on this album does make it the favourite of many Wildhearts fans. The likes of 'Caprice', 'In Lilly's Garden' or 'Jonesing For Jones' show a more restrained side to the band's usual 100 miles an hour approach and come off surprisingly well. The mighty wallop of 'Whoa Shit, You Got Through' and 'Nita Nitro' make sure that the adrenalin still fires through this album though, however it is the pair of singles 'Just In Lust' and 'I Wanna Go Where The People Go' that really stand out. The former is a classic Wildhearts shout along anthem that illustrates the clever arrangements that the band have always employed, while the latter is the sort of up an' at 'em smack of riffed up melody that should start any album. The addition of Willie Dowling (The Grip, Jackdaw4) on keyboards, would add another dimension to The Wildhearts sound, although in truth rather than piling on layers of keys, his work on the album takes on the role of quiet embellishment and just adds to the melody that the band had always strived to infuse their music with. Either way, by the time the album was released Dowling had departed to team up with the jettisoned CJ in the highly successful, if short lived Honeycrack. CJ's departure would prove to be a real stumbling point for the band as they finished the album and played a few dates as a three piece, as finding a replacement proved amazingly difficult. First Devin Townsend helped out on stage before The Senseless Things Mark Keds jumped aboard. It seemed like a strange marriage and so it proved with Keds' only recorded performance being on the b'sides to the 'Just In Lust' single, before he failed to return from a trip to Japan for the band's headline show at The Phoenix Festival. Let down and embarrassed, The Wildhearts had to cancel their appearance.

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The bonus disc this time round gathers together all the extra tracks from the aforementioned 'Just In Lust' and 'I Wanna Go Where The People Go' releases, as well as those that features on the 'Sick Of Drugs' and 'Red Light, Green Light' singles. The pick of the crop this time being 'Can't Do Right For Doing Wrong', 'Friend For Five Minutes' and the scathing 'All American Home Boy Crowd', any of which could have made the main album.

Steven Reid

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