Another year and another selection of fine album releases throughout the year. Isn’t it incredible that so much great material continues to be produced year on year, especially when some would have us believe that rock is dead? Even better for me is when favourite bands decide to release new material around my birthday – it’s like they want to give me a very special present.. Thus you can imagine I was giddier than Mr Giddy from the land of the giddy things when I heard that Wayward Sons were to release their second album mere days before I celebrate another turn around the sun. After being blown away by “Ghosts of Yet to Come” and witnessed a number of the boys live shows I couldn’t contain my excitement at the thought of new material so once the lovely press people sent us the streaming link I was on it immediately and first listen didn’t disappoint. Taking everything a stage further than the first release, “The Truth Ain’t What It Used to Be” sees Toby, Sam, Nic, Dave and Phil in fighting form. They say that youth is wasted on the young and although I’m not sure how much truth there is in that I am certain that you don’t have to be a whippersnapper to be an angry young man and for that I am truly thankful and the Wayward Sons are here to prove that they agree
The new album could be called a concept record, as there is a narrative thread that connects the twelve tracks, but singer/guitarist and songwriter Toby Jepson, prefers to call it a ‘protest’ record and describes the new materials as ‘political’ but not of the sort that seeks to hammer the message home, more of a reflection of his take on where the world and we are. Jepson admires and draws influence from storytellers like Elvis Costello, David Bowie and Queen – artists who could pass on their message through their storytelling craft. Straight off the bat you can hear some of the anger in the lyrics but wrapping up the protest are superb melodies and some really clever musical trick which more than hint at some of the musical influences that exist within the band. There is so much vitality and energy on show that you can’t help be sucked in and taken along for the ride of your life.
You may remember that when I reviewed “Ghosts…” I mentioned that it was quite a rare beast in that it didn’t conform to the usual formula of having at least one ballad. Not one. “The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be” doesn’t follow that pattern and in amongst the rousing, up-tempo numbers we see something a little more gentle. “Fade Away” caught my attention immediately on first listen -with some delicate, pleading vocals and then a guitar solo that made me think Brian May was on the record. Huge dollops of May’s style with a slower ballad (ish) song that makes me think of Queen at their finest. I think the word that best describes what we have on display here is passion – passion for the music, for the performance and rather tellingly passion for and about the lyrical themes. Perfectly written lyrics throughout with some impeccable lines which should appeal to all of you out there with a love of intelligent writing.
At times you get hints of The Beatles but this is 100% Wayward Sons. Toby’s searing vocals have just got better with experience and I love this band as much as ever. “Long Line of Pretenders” and “(IF Only) God Was Real” continue things apace and, once again there is no let up on the passionate display from track one right through to the hidden final song “Totally Screwed”. Without question the album is one which has a joined up feel throughout – sure you could cherry pick songs to listen to at a time (I believe some people do this, but personally haven’t been able to do anything other than listen from beginning to end at every sitting).
An album of 21st Century protest songs? You betcha and with it the Sons have delivered another belter of a record with not a single weak link – a full-blooded (and full-throttled) R-O-C-K album. The songs within define the band as writers and players, exploding out of your chosen audio player. The record was built on passion and commitment, with an eye on modernity and the human condition, and at this moment in history, have we ever been more challenged? I honestly cannot wait to hear these songs in the live arena soon. A short film will run alongside the album, with four video tracks standing alone and also being able to run together as a whole with the film tracing the narrative of the album
Released on 11th October on Frontiers Records, the album will be released on CD, Vinyl and Digitally and pre-order links are http://radi.al/
and there will also be a limited orange vinyl available from the band’s store: http://store.
Forthcoming live shows already announced:
10 – Bristol Academy (support to Black Star Riders)
11 – Cambridge Corn Exchange (support to Black Star Riders)
12 – London Shepherds Bush Empire (support to Black Star Riders)
13 – Wrexham William Aston Hall (support to Black Star Riders)
19 – Newcastle Academy (support to Black Star Riders)
20 – Nottingham Rock City (support to Black Star Riders)
22 – Bexhill on Sea De La Warr Pavillion (support to Black Star Riders)
23 – Bournemouth Academy (support to Black Star Riders)
24 – Cardiff University (support to Black Star Riders)
25 – Wolverhampton Steel Mill (support to Black Star Riders)
26 – Leeds Academy (support to Black Star Riders)
27 – Manchester O2 Ritz (support to Black Star Riders)
12 – Hamburg Markthalle (support to Black Star Riders)
13 – Cologne Kantine (support to Black Star Riders)
14 – Dresden Tante Ju (support to Black Star Riders)
15 – Aschaffenburg Colossaal (support to Black Star Riders)
17 – Zurich Dynamo Club (support to Black Star Riders)
18 – Munich Backstage Halle (support to Black Star Riders)
19 – Nuremburg Hirsch (support to Black Star Riders)
21 – Leipzig Anker (support to Black Star Riders)