Who: Wigan legends The Hicks
What: New album, Plan B
Plan B is the latest effort from local outfit The Hicks, and it’s an absolute monster.
Over the last few years, The Hicks have cemented their reputation for delivering strong, solid bone crunchers drenched in deep grooves and delivered with a power and panache that is uniquely their own, and as the leering opening riff of The Other Side whips into life, it’s clear that they’re ready to show us exactly why they’ve earned such a reputation.
The Other Side is as engaging an opening track as you could possibly hope for; crunching guitars stomp with force over roaring bass and vocals that are at once both vicious and smooth before the whole thing flows into one swirling storm of a finish.
An early favourite comes in the form of The Prophet, a short, spiralling intro breaking into another brutally brilliant slab of hard rock as vigorous riffs head to war with rumbling bass to the beat of a harsh, hard beat.
From there, TV Rules The World offers a brief chill with a gentle clean intro that swoops over dark bass then breaks into dirty, fuzzy guitars and snapping drums.
It’s a different sound to what we’ve heard from the band in the past, but it’s nonetheless enjoyable, and firmly drives the message home that The Hicks have far more going for them than a few gut-busting riffs and a dose of personality.
Which is mainly what Plan B seems all so determined to prove.
Yes all that power and intensity and all those deeply delicious grooves that have long been such a prominent component of The Hicks’ sound are all still in tact, but as you listen to the stabbing, sonic tsunami of ‘Riot Song’ or the force and vigour of Dead Man Walking, there’s no denying that the band are driving themselves into new territories, conquering them with aplomb and setting themselves apart as a force to be reckoned with.
Every sublime slab of scuzz-infested hard rock here has been intricately crafted, with enough twists, turns and changes of direction to make each one an interesting, utterly enjoyable experience in a way that not all bands are capable of doing.
Indeed, there are few bands around that can match The Hicks in terms of talent and charisma, and Plan B is proof affirmative of this; each storming cyclone of guttural guitar, each crashing shot of dominant drums and each snarling, bold bassline throw their weight around with a confident swagger.
And who can blame them? When you’ve got monstrous tunes this good, you’ve got every right in the world to celebrate it, and that’s exactly what Plan B exists to be; a bold and brilliant celebration of some seriously enjoyable music.
By Chris Skoyles