Last Saturday I went to see The Wildhearts play a 15th Anniversary gig for their album Earth Vs The Wildhearts. I first got in to The Wildhearts around this time - like I suspect a lot of people did - when I saw them playing Caffeine Bomb on Top of the Pops. I was nine at the time. And they've been my favourite band ever since, despite the highs and lows that have occurred since then. Having lived with the Earth Vs-era songs for so long, it's easy to forget just how incredible they are. This is as true of the B-Sides as it is of the A-Sides.
When the band released their new, self-titled album last year, it was heralded as being their best album since Earth Vs. Although I don't really agree with this statement, I wouldn't want to go on record as disagreeing - all in all I like each of their albums equally, for one reason or another. And that's my point.
By calling their last proper studio album (not counting the recent covers album) their best since Earth Vs, I feel that critics (and fans) are, in a way, overlooking the achievements of the band in the interim period (an oversight comparable to that made by people who claimed that The Departed was Scorsese's best film since GoodFellas, despite the fact that he's actually made better films than GoodFellas since GoodFellas). I feel that this is especially true of the album Endless Nameless, which is disliked by many fans, and, as rumour has it, current band members. In my own, minor, way then, I feel it's time to call for a critical reappraisal of this album. Although the album is admittedly buried under a coat of potentially inaccessible noise, the songs (and the b-sides from the singles) are as good as any others written by the band. When they toured at the end of last year, a couple of songs from the album made it into the set. I hope that this will continue, and that, when the album turns 15 in 2012, the world will be ready to embrace a similar celebration to the one that took place last weekend. In the meantime, roll on 2010 and a 15th anniversary show for p.h.u.q.