The Wildhearts

Riff After Riff

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Talk about a title that says it all -- despite a run of bad luck that rivals that of William H. Macy in The Cooler, the Wildhearts are a band that stubbornly refuses to be stopped, and Riff After Riff, the band's first American full-length since 1997, is one relentless powerhouse of hard rock groove, churning out massive guitar crunch, tough but buoyant melodies, thundering drums, and spot-on harmonies from the first stuttering chords of "Stormy in the North, Karma in the South" to the final feedback swells and party fracas of "Let's Go." Recycling six cuts from the Japanese Riff After Riff After Motherfucking Riff EP, this album has the benefit of a name you can say in front of your mom, but the good news is that the Wildhearts' patented blend of hard rock punch, glam-inspired melodic texture, and punk rock energy and abandon sounds as powerful as ever. What's more, frontal lobe Ginger is one of those rare guys who knows there's something just a bit goofy about the muscle and pomp of Big Loud Rock, and that this is not to be ignored or considered a badge of shame, but part of what makes this stuff great. Which is to say Riff After Riff is hard rock that's actually fun, and the purposeful laughs in "Better Than Cable," "Putting It On," and "Action Panzer" just add value to the package. If there's still room in your musical heart for sweaty English guys with loud guitars, big amps, and a notion to have some non-wholesome good times, then Riff After Riff deserves a place on your stereo, and it's nice to have the Wildhearts back on domestic plastic after all these years.

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