It’s always a pleasure when a promising band that’s been around for a while finally pulls off a blinder. And so it is with Lancaster’s Massive Wagons, who have been developing their own brand of good-time rock’n’roll for the best part of 10 years now.
Following a step up to Earache Records for 2018’s Full Nelson, anticipation levels have been high for the follow-up, which would hopefully see the band pull together all the elements that peppered previous releases – the humour, the riffs, the hooks – into a satisfying and accomplished whole.
Honest and thoroughly unpretentious, House Of Noise takes all the things Massive Wagons do well and gives them real focus and power through a sterling production from Colin Richardson and Chris Clancy (who also gave Earache’s Those Damn Crows a serious boost on this year’s Point Of No Return).
Anthems are a bit of a Wagons speciality, and lead-off single In It Together is the kind of joyfully intense tune, not completely unlike The Wildhearts, that leaves you wondering whether they’ll have anything left for the remaining 11 tracks.
The answer is an emphatic yes, as the thumping, infectious momentum barrels into second single Bangin’ In Your Stereo (with a completely apt nod to Slade frontman Noddy Holder in the Lego video), which body slams into the title track and so on.
Front and centre, singer Baz Mills is a mad ball of sparky energy, the encapsulation of his stage persona, with a cheeky line in well-observed lyrics targeting in particular the naysayers and impossible-to-please fans – the whipsmart Pressure (‘Since that label got involved, they’re losing direction’), Glorious and Hallescrewya (‘This one goes out to the man who left the show’) are all cheerfully catchy middle-finger salutes. And then there’s The Curry Song, upbeat and merrily absurd with its ready-made crowd call-and-response schtick (‘I say Rogan, you say mosh!’), surely a future live staple.
For all the perfectly honed harmonies and clever pop nous on show, Massive Wagons are equally at home delivering grand epics; album centrepiece Hero boasts a weighty AC/DC-esque swing to it and killer solo, while emotional closer Matter Of Time just builds and builds to a terrific climax.
Daft, witty and crammed with irresistible singalong choruses, House Of Noise is, plain and simple, a fantastic feel-good album boasting bags of variety, verve and real heart. Resistance is futile.