Hey! Hello! is one of many side projects by the prolific front man of The Wildhearts, Ginger. These days he goes by Ginger Wildheart, apparently to ensure that fans of The Wildhearts will realize it’s him when they come across his releases and not just some other dude named Ginger. (Or should I say bloke? Ginger is British, ya know.)
Ginger formed Hey! Hello! along with New York based singer Victoria Liedtke. His parts were recorded in England by Russ Russell. To that end, Ginger played drums, bass and guitars on the album, in addition to providing a large portion of the lead vocals. Once he was done recording his parts, they were sent to Victoria in New York and she then added her vocals with the engineering assistance of Bryan Scary.
I would have to describe Hey! Hello!’s sound as tremendously energetic, upbeat hard rock with a dash of punk and a smidgen of metal. If you like the The Wildhearts then you’re sure to love them because they’re very much in that vein. And they’re like The Wildhearts at their very best. If I had to compare their album to one particular album by The Wildhearts it would definitely be the triumphant, hook-filled album The Wildhearts Must Be Destroyed, which is easily one of my favorite albums by The Wildhearts. That said, Hey! Hello!’s album is quite possibly even better than any of The Wildhearts’ albums. I know that sounds completely ridiculous. The Wildhearts are an institution and are generally considered flawless — although I think I’m the only one on the planet who liked the album Endless, Nameless — so how could anything possibly be better than The Wildhearts? Well, apparently Ginger really shines and functions at the top of his game when he has a hot woman collaborating with him. Because, seriously, Hey! Hello! is truly amazing. It’s like The Wildhearts on a shitload of caffeine and steroids.
“Hey, it’s OK, not all days, can be beautiful days,” they sing during “Feral Days” and that’s the sort of lyrics you get on this album. It might have a punk rock edge, but there aren’t any angry manifestos or damn the man songs here. No cheesy ballads either. Nope. Another way to describe Hey! Hello!? They’re like a hard rock band covering 10 spectacular power pop songs.
“Why can’t I just be me without you,” Ginger asks during “Why Can’t I Be Me Without You.” And it’s the closest thing the album has to a depressing song. And it’s totally not depressing. Sure, it deals with surviving a break up, and even asks a universal question, but it’s highly infectious and fun nevertheless. (Fun, fun, fun — that’s Hey! Hello!) And it feels entirely optimistic even if it never quite answers the question it asks.
From the insanely catchy opening track, “Black Valentine,” to the awesome and appropriately entitled closing track, “We’re Outta Here,” Hey! Hello!’s album never slows down for a second.
Ginger and Victoria take turns singing lead vocals during some of the songs, like “Black Valentine,” but at other times they sing together, harmonizing perfectly. And they truly are a match made in music heaven. You couldn’t possibly have found a better woman’s voice to pair with Ginger’s. They compliment each other brilliantly.
It also turns out that Ginger is one hell of a drummer. I guess he’s like the British version of Lenny Kravitz now, able to play every instrument needed to make a rock album himself in addition to being able to write and sing superb songs.
If you like hard rock or power pop or punk rock or any type of rock then you simply have to check this out. Watch their video and hear them for yourself. You will be impressed. Otherwise, there’s something sorely wrong with you and you should seek help immediately by going to a boring music site like Spin.com.