The Wildhearts – “Dislocated”, disjointed, disappointed.

How does the new Wildhearts single “Dislocated” fare?

Bloat rock [bloht rock] Noun.
The music created by a band well past their best years that is typically characterised by auto-tuning to cover up missed notes, verses & choruses that go nowhere, and a lack of musical growth or innovation.

With The Wildhearts reuniting with old band member Danny McCormack and diving in to a new tour, it was definitely expected for them to record a new song or two to mark the occasion. The band are releasing their 9th studio album this May, “Renaissance Men”, the title of which gives hope for something new, revitalised, challenging even. So how does the band represent after a 10 year gap since their last album?

I started listening to the Wildhearts when I was 16, so I’m pretty clued-up when it comes to their discography and sounds. So I have to admit that my previous knowledge of their music has effected what I was expecting – hell, I think every one of their fans had an idea in their head of what a new album would sound like. Unfortunately “Dislocated”, the lead song from the album, doesn’t match expectations at all. It sounds very crowded. There’s a lot of hammed-up effects on the different instruments, resulting in it all coming together in to a sludge.

I think the song is suffering from an identity crisis – personally, I can’t tell what it’s trying to be. In the past The Wildhearts have been good at combining different styles together, but here the scratchy and strained vocals of the lead verse do not mesh well with with the quiet passage post-chorus. The guitar sound just feels very “cliche heavy band” to me – which, I sense the irony, but I suppose I was expecting something cleaner akin to their previous album, Chutzpah!, or even the heavy chug of their 2007 self titled album. I know The Wildhearts can be a bit of a guitar band at times, but I feel like I’ve heard this riff and set of effects countless times before.

“Dislocated” is about the band members’ experiences with mental illness, such as depression and addiction, but saying “Yeah, the song sounds messy and disjointed because mental illness is messy” would just be reductive and insulting. But here’s hoping that Renaissance Men is hiding a gem or two somewhere behind this disjointed lead single.