Sunday, 14 February 2021

ALBUM REVIEW: Ricky Warwick, “When Life Was Hard and Fast”

By: Richard Maw


Album Type: Full Length

Date Released: 19/02/2021

Label: Nuclear Blast



“When Life Was Hard and Fast” CD//DD//LP track listing:


1. When Life Was Hard and Fast

2. You Don't Love Me

3. I'd Rather Be Hit

4. Gunslinger

5. Never Corner A Rat

6. Time Don't Seem To Matter

7. Fighting Heart

8. I Don't Feel At Home

9. Still Alive

10. Clown Of Misery

11. You're My Rock 'n Roll


The Review:


Ricky Warwick roars back after his 2016 double album with this eleven-track collection of rock n roll songs, pitched somewhere between Thin Lizzy and Social Distortion. Warwick, of course has enjoyed quite a varied career; a guitar for hire with New Model Army, The Almighty- taken all the way to the UK top 5- an acoustic solo career, fronting the touring line up of Thin Lizzy and finally front man of Black Star Riders. He's still a pretty prolific writer, knocking out albums with regularity and finesse. No doubt about it, Ricky works at his craft and keeps moving forward.


All but two of the tracks here is electric and with an energy level not used since, perhaps, “Just Add Life” by The Almighty back in 1996. You get wistful rock in the title track, punked up swagger in “Never Corner A Rat” and “Gunslinger”, some rather sweet acoustic work in “Time Don't Seem To Matter” and anthemic rock/punk in “Fighting Heart”. The album has a fair few moods and manages to keep an edge on its blade for the most part. There are more middle of the road moments here and there- but this is a big step up in attitude and energy from his previous solo electric work.


The songs are uniformly finely crafted and shot through with regret and even nostalgia. The production packs a punch too- loud and raw from the drums to the guitars and vocals. There is some good storytelling too; “Still Alive” is a rip roaring crime tale and one that's well told at that. I'm hugely fond of the one-two closing punch of “Clown of Misery” and “You're My Rock 'n Roll”. The former is a strange kind of maudlin acoustic number with a demo sound, while the latter is full on Mike-Ness-in-a-hotrod-punk-rocking.


The best way to sum up the record is that it is convincing. You believe what Warwick sings and his delivery is stellar. I'd recommend this to anyone who is a fan of any of the bands mentioned. “When Life Was Hard And Fast” is a quality album full of swagger and a good measure of restraint at times. It will scratch that singer-songwriter itch and is the best solo record Warwick has put out to date. Mission accomplished


“When Life Was Hard and Fast” is available HERE

Band info: facebook