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Thursday, July 26, 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Massive Wagons grab you good and proper on Full Nelson

WELL holy fuckity fuck but Massive Wagons have gone and done it again - produced an album chock a block with wall-to-wall great songs.

'Full Nelson - their first release on Earache - is further tribute to what the band is capable of: tunes, riffs, melody and muscle.

True, the regurgitation of older tracks such as 'Back To The Stack'. 'Ratio and 'Tokyo' help pad it out, and new nine songs have real kick and a massive set of balls that enables them to pull off a wondrous set of songs that in true Massive Wagons style have hard rock sensibilities mixed with occasional metal sensibilities.

But more than that - the ever-present awareness of what they are doing, combined with acute observational lyrics.

Many will have already tracks from this as they gear up for unleashing 'Full Nelson' but when taken as a collection they all work so well together.

For example 'Last On The List' follows the edge of 'Hate Me' into the delightful poignancy of 'The Ballad of Verdun Hayes'.

Whether a new label has really given them more a expressive outlet is a moot point as the band's previous two releases are strong enough to stand proud in any discography. But there is a sense of a band more comfortable here - and that doesn't mean they are in any way laid back.

From the opener 'Under No Illusion' this is an act wanting to show all-comers that they are on the verge of even greater things.

Bax manages to go from eviscerating social commentary through to deep emotional resonance ('Northern Boy') while Adam and Steve weave guitar magic.

The first three tracks set out the intent from Massive Wagon, as the title song, the wondrous critique of social media norms on 'China Plates' plus the singalong glory of 'Billy Balloon Head' are more than enough to satisfy any rock fan.

But this is a band not content with just a few great songs. The entire album is packed with revelatory poise. 'Summertime Smile' is The Cult and Aerosmith hybrid that exceeds their influences as Bowz (bass) and Alex (drums propel the track forward.

However, it is 'Northern Boy' that is at the heart of 'Full Nelson'. The well-thought out musical passages, the sense in the lyrics of what life is like in 2018 outside the Geater London bubble makes this a track to go back to time and time again.

It would be possible to analyse each and every track on this album and still not come close to the experience of listening to it, wallowing in it...and loving every minute.

Put it this way - Earache and their PR partners may have sent us the preview review, but when it is released we'll be buying our own copy to sit proudly in our collection.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

Full Nelson is released on Earache on August 10th

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