As a phrase, it has to be said that “new musical direction” is about as high up as “gentle comedy” or “reality TV” in the list of things that scare me.
So it was that when I read that Wilson were taking a new “musical outlook” and were going to be “influenced by hip hop” it was a little bit frightening if I am honest.
Primarily because I was pre-disposed to like Wilson. I was at their first ever UK headline show and pronounced “if passion and drive counted for anything then Wilson would already be huge.” When I reviewed the gig in Wolverhampton back in February 2016.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago when this site ran the first single from “Tasty Nasty” and it’s on the face of it a very different beast. It’s a hip-hop song with a guitar riff that smashes.
Then you think: actually, y’know when you get down to it, it ain’t all that much of a departure. They were – after all – a self-confessed party band. It’s just now that party is fuelled on Gin & Juice if I may be so bold as to quote Snoop Dogg for the first – and most probably only time – on this site.
And “Tasty Nasty” largely seems to be about a party that doesn’t end. “…Baller” sees Chad dreaming of “4.7m likes on my Instagram, all the honey’s sending pics of their tits to my DM” (it also rhymes “rover” with “come over” at one point, which is worth bonus points alone.) It’s not hard to draw the parallels between the band and the escapism that the character in the shit job on the song dreams of.
The other nine songs here are absolutely resolute in their determination to kick out the jams and get the party started. Wilson probably don’t give the remotest shit that other artists want to bring about revolution. You don’t when the opening chorus of your album is: “this shit dumps like a dump truck.” (that’s “Dumptruck” for ya, right there.)
And yet, the fact that “Tasty Nasty” is as dumb as the average contestant on Love Island is actually its charm. “Wrong Side Of History” sees the Michigan boys move into some almost Black Stone Cherry waters, and “My Hustle” is funky, righteous and unapologetic. Three words, actually, that could apply to the whole damn thing.
“Summertime Treat” sounds as laid back as one of those awful adverts on tv for cider with the cool kids having fun, but it’s as catchy as hell, “Act My Age” you guess is their anthem, cos there’s nothing mature on offer at all – neither is there meant to be. Naval gazing is for others. Wilson would rather look at hot girls while smoking dope and getting drunk. But goodness me, the guitar line here is ace.
“Spanish Coffee” does the same thing basically, just with a Latin tinge, and is a pop song, pure and simple. Likewise “Money (Money Money Money)” lives the highlife. And in fairness the crossover hits just keep coming “Fuck Up My High” will be the soundtrack to dumping your first love, “House Of Fuckery” has the just right hint of violence, and “Everyone Gets A Round On Me” takes me back to the mid-90s and pretending we didn’t like Crazy Town.
In honesty, I really wanted to hate this too. I can’t. It’s the same Wilson you loved last time around with a different sound, but a complete lack of self-consciousness and a total absence of pretension.
In that respect it might be their most honest album yet. Maybe something they needed to get out of the system, but it feels more. With “Tasty Nasty” the real Wilson might just be standing up.