Whipping Boy — „Heartworm“ [Expanded Version] (Sept. 3rd, 2021)

IRELAND FLAG                                                                Whipping Boy — „Heartworm“ [Expanded Version] (Sept. 3rd, 2021)
⊕⇑⊗  Kdy skupina z Dublinu naposledy vytvořila album skutečně hodné uznání kritiky? Pokud jste U2, svět vám leží u nohou a kritici otročí nad každým pohybem. Pak ovšem na skutečných uměleckých zásluhách nezáleží, protože fans vědí, že prodává kvanta kopií. Někde však leží toto opomíjené album, navždy ve stínu svých protějšků, zaplňujících stadiony. Opravdu však..., navždy?
⊕⇑⊗  Zatímco se zdá, že U2 uvízli ve stejné tvůrčí koleji již po dlouhou dobu, u Whipping Boy tak tomu není. Pokud lze něčeho litovat, jedinou věcí, kterou tato kapela udělala špatně, bylo vydání svého alba 6 měsíců PO „The Bends“ [8th March 1995], které ukradlo srdce i chválu, kterou si zaslouží spíše „Heartworm“. Kdyby bylo „The Bends“ vydáno až po TOMTO albu, věci by se mohly odvíjet zcela odlišně, protože toto album je v každém kousku stejné jako mistrovské dílo Radiohead, ne~li lepší. Lidé tamto kupovali houfně... a „Heartworm“ ignorovali. Ve spravedlivém světě by se to nikdy nestalo.
⇒   „Heartworm [je] lyricky odvážné a hudebně obratné album. Prochází nepohodlným územím, aby získalo něco velkolepého.“ — Grian Chatten, Fontaines D.C

Whipping Boy ©Brendan FitzpatrickLocation: Dublin, Ireland
Released: 1 Nov. 1995
Recorded: Sept. ~ Nov. 1994
Studio: Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin, Ireland
Album release: Sept. 3rd, 2021
Record Label: Columbia/Needle Mythology
Duration:     79:07
01. Twinkle   5:05
02. When We Were Young   2:52
03. Tripped   3:45
04. The Honeymoon Is Over   3:38
05. We Don’t Need Nobody Else   4:17
06. Blinded   3:55
07. Personality   4:29
08. Users   3:54
09. Fiction   3:26
10. Morning Rise   4:57
11. When We Were Young (Philo Version)   2:54
12. I Am God   3:17
13. Magnolia   4:15
14. Caroline Says II   3:36
15. Tripped  (Live)   3:51
16. We Don’t Need Nobody Else (Acoustic Version)   4:00
17. Disappointed   4:19
18. Twinkle (Acoustic Version)   4:17
19. As the Day Goes   4:35
20. A Natural   3:45

Myles McDonnell — bass, backing vocals
Fearghal McKee — vocals
Colm Hassett — drums
Paul Page — guitar
The Dublin Symphony Orchestra
2LP deluxe reissue of the 1995 album Heartworm, featuring the singles ‘When We Were Young’, ‘We Don’t Need Nobody Else’ and ‘Twinkle’
Includes additional 10~track collection of b~sides & previously unreleased demos
Remastered by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios in London
Pressed on 180 gram black vinyl at The Vinyl Factory in London
Gatefold sleeve with printed inner sleeves featuring lyrics and new liner notes

By Michael Bonner1st Oct. 2021Score: ★★★★ 
⊕⇑⊗  On the face of it, Whipping Boy could have been huge stars. Formed in Dublin during the late ’80s as Spacemen 3/Loop/Mary Chain devotees, by the time of their second album, they had become accomplished songwriters and musicians, with a major label deal behind them. Heartworm presented a strong package — melodies, edge and verve — but what it didn’t have was timing. Released in November 1995, it got lost somewhere between (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? and Different Class. Heartworm maps an inward trajectory, where narrators have “lost my faith in all things good”, childhood reveries are framed by “what might have been” and relationships have run aground, leaving them “a bitter love, a broken love”. Evidently, this was not the stuff of Britpop triumphalism.
⊕⇑⊗  Fast forward 26 years and the spirit of Whipping Boy now partly resides in Fontaines DC — another Dublin band who have a similarly urgent, sardonic energy and another darkly charismatic frontman. Although, to some extent, the success of Fontaines helps give this Whipping Boy reissue a leg up, Heartworm is all its own thing. Opening track Twinkle sets out the band’s stall: tight, propulsive melodies, sheets of feedback shivering through the chorus and a characteristically elliptic portrait of characters on the brink. The narrator is “waiting to be bled” and similar examples of toxic co~dependency and emotional vampirism recur throughout the album. During the chorus of Tripped, for instance, Fearghal McKee intones “she tripped, she tripped” over and over again before he admits, “You know you were the only one”. The complexities of such morbidly unhealthy relationships peak on We Don’t Need Nobody Else where McKee monologues, “I hit you for the first time today… Christ, we weren’t even fighting”. In the background, the song explodes with its own kind of violence.
⊕⇑⊗  Elsewhere, there is much brooding on what was. When We Were Young presents itself as a rousing moshpit anthem buoyed along by a litany of teenage pursuits — “Babies, sex and flagons, shifting women, getting stoned/Robbing cars, bars and pubs, rubber johnnies, poems”. But the nub of the song lies in its opening lines, “When we were young no~one died/And nobody got older”, a brilliant piece of foreshadowing that McKee circles back to at the end of the song where he sings of “What might have been/When we were young”. On Personality, “people grow old, they get bored/They forget to take a risk” and end up “in the dark we’ll all be waiting/With nothing left to hold”.
⊕⇑⊗  For anyone looking for a chink in all this — spoilers — sorry, but it doesn’t come. Album closer Morning Rise is swathed in strings, but it finds McKee repeating “And it goes on”: the circle will not be broken.
⊕⇑⊗  Heartworm is a bleak record, but a powerful one — expertly played by the band, especially guitarist Paul Page who turns on a dime from delicate cascading guitar lines to feedback squalls, and McKee, of course, an astute chronicler of dark interiors. Had Heartworm come out earlier, perhaps this album of ragged songs and heartworn melodies might have been bigger. We can only imagine.
⊕⇑⊗  https://www.uncut.co.uk/reviews/album/whipping-boy-heartworm-134079/
By Graham Reed October 2nd, 2001. Score: 9
⊕⇑⊗  https://drownedinsound.com/releases/4757/reviews/2235-
Label: https://www.spindizzyrecords.com/product/whipping-boy-heartworm-expanded-edition-2cd-set-sep-3/
SF: https://open.spotify.com/album/1QsGOCoxGk2Hcf6bTUSilU?si=FCDbtbMkTmCVVes8zh8cew&dl_branch=1&nd=1