The Wildbloods – All The Adversity (Wildblood)

Still pretty new to the Aussie rock scene, this four piece have just put out their first album.  It’s a fairly solid affair, mainly your standard meat and potatoes rock.   Good fare for those bars and clubs on the other side of the ditch but to Kiwi ears is it enough to really make us sit up and take notice?   

Alas, no.

Ok, so that’s a pretty harsh judgement, I know. But to this listener, at least, I found very little on the menu to get excited about.  In resteraunt terms, they offer pretty standard pub grub.  Maybe it get better, the more I drink.  Maybe.

First things first, though.  Who are these guys?  “Welcome to the family” announces their website before launching into the band’s bio.  From what I can gleen from the site this band is a manufactured family affair, like the Partridge Family – crossed with the Ramones.  Everyone’s called ‘Wildblood’.  Frontman ‘Johnny Wildblood’ started out as an acoustic, solo artist playing shows in bars and clubs throughout Sydney as early as 2010.  He was later joined by ‘brothers’; Juke Wildblood (drums), Jay Wildblood (bass) and Justin Wildblood (lead guitar).  “Their goal,” claims the site, “was to become a rock ‘n’ roll family. And so they made it happen.”  Nice idea.

Their first self-titled EP came out in 2015 with a small collection of infectious and upbeat songs about growing up, retold with some humour and a dash of positivity.  Essentially, a school boy band, still in short pants.  With Johnny’s overtly Ocker accent their lariken tone really suited this style.  No doubt it was also a crowd pleaser, too.  According to reports on their various short  East Coast tours throughout 2014 and early 2015 correspondents certainly thought so.  Mind you, this is small time Ozzie pubs and clubs we’re talking about.

For the debut there was a bit of a change of direction, to make darker, perhaps more mature material.  We’ll, that’s what the publicity says.  Sure, that’s a natural progression but I don’t think they were ready just yet.  So, instead you just get some pretty ordinary, sloppy rock tunes, without the cheeky personalities.  And, therefore, no point of difference.

The album opens with the first singles Don’t Be Shy and Amy Baby.  The first sounds like they’ve just ripped off a Datsuns number.  It’s got a great garage feel to it, all throbbing guitars and a solid beat.  However, instead of wild, grungy dirty vocals you get this pathetic nasal Aussie whine that grates so much I had to turn the whole thing off at least twice, mid-song.  And the lyrics are even worse: “It’s ok with me if you wanna dance / And it’s ok with me if you wanna hold my haaaand”.  And on it goes.  A tedious string of spotty, teenage age drivel.  Maybe they were hoping this song might appear on Home and Away.  The second release is even worse.  More cheesy sentiment about a girl giving a boy the run around.  The topic’s a common theme, for sure but delivered with clumsy, clunky lyrics that just show up this fairly catchy mid-tempo pop tune as a wasted opportunity.

To be fair, the band play pretty well and there’s a few glimpses of hope.  On Red Box, for example, they let it all go.  With a nice messy boogie and a full assault of garage guitars in the chorus they finally get the party started.  Johnny also get’s the carrot out of arse and belts it out with anger and frustration.  His voice is nicely distorted, probably more due to production limitations but it works.  This one’s the closest they get to the Ramones/Stooges vibe, but only just.  It’s still a ballpark away.

The rest of the album is pretty much underwhelming and barely worth mentioning.  More cliché lyrics, grating nasal vocals over forgettable music that sounds like other people’s material.

wish I could be more positive.  Sure, both singles have found air play support from Aussie’’s Triple J and othe commercial networks but that you have to wonder why.  Maybe it was a quiet week.

Tim Gruar