The Wildhearts, 'Chutzpah!' (Backstage Alliance)

Critical Mass
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by Brian Raftery

Over eight studio albums, the Wildhearts have flaunted smash-and-grab riffs and airborne choruses with such certitude that it's easy to take the U.K. outfit for granted. But Chutzpah! does offer a few stylistic overhauls: There's a new-wave throb on the where-did-our-love-go? lament "You Took the Sunshine From New York," while the title track combines robo-pop vocals, thrash guitars, and a big-ballad piano coda. Yet frontman Ginger never abandons the aggressive hookery that's kept him going for nearly 20 years. That titular exclamation point is well deserved.

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