Lancaster's finest go all out for album #5
With a pandemic sweeping the planet that has essentially put the music scene on hold, Massive Wagons have carried on regardless. Among all the chaos and sadness the lads have continued to spread a little joy. In the build-up to the release of their fifth album, they've been releasing videos, launching Wagons World and continuing the party with an exclusive show for Ramblin' Man Fair TV and a Curry Song cook-along.
Keeping busy while the rest of the country is in limbo is a reminder that the Wagons are one of the hardest working bands out there. Not only is their work ethic something to be applauded, so is their attitude to upholding the spirit of good old rock and roll. After all, you can't start a song with the lyric "it started in Tesco" if you take yourself too seriously.
In It Together and Bangin' on the Stereo continue their flair for penning songs that are tailor-made for the live experience, while simultaneously being the sort of tunes that will be playlist perennials.
Along with the full force of the sound that they produce their lyrical integrity is another endearing quality. The title track is the Wagon's rock and roll way of getting some headspace and mindfulness. Professional Creep humorously deals with narcissistic assholes, Pressure challenges record company control and creative stifling while Hallescrewya is an equally polite F*** you to 'the man who left the show' and consequently missed 'the best show on Earth'. This is by no means misplaced arrogance; anybody who has seen the Wagons in action knows that they are in for a good time. This is partly thanks to frontman Baz Mills' Greatest Showman personality (something that is pretty much the same off stage as on). His exuberance, humility and humour make him - and the band - impossible not to like.
While other bands maintain an aloofness even with their larking about, the Wagons dive right in. The Curry Song is destined to be an enduring live highlight for the band and the chant of 'when I say Rogan you say mosh!'. I guarantee that you'll be shouting it before you get to see them perform it.
Matter of Time throws a curveball at the very end with an unexpected eight-minute track that is petty incongruent with the rest of the album's feel-good vibe, but it proves they are as adept at knocking out a ballad as they are the wisecracks.
HON is filled with clever wordplay, big, beautiful riffs, bonkers bits and here's the thing - it's not contrived and full of bullshit. This is an honest, heartfelt album by a band who love making music. For this reason, it's perhaps why House of Noise is regarded by Baz as the band's best album yet. I think the fans would probably agree.