I know this bloke, a bit of a character on the Midland’s gig scene. Loves a freebie, but really loves telling you that he knows this member of this or that band. A couple of years ago I was watching Ginger Wildheart play a solo show and bumped into this fella. He did the usual and tried to get a guestlist ticket off me and then he told me – as is standard – that “my mate is the singer in the first band – good lad, good mate.”

Now, I don’t know if he really is friends with Baz Mills or not, and couldn’t care less frankly. I do know that Baz’s band Massive Wagons (who were rather good that night as I suspect they are every night) have a song about people like that. “China Plates”. “I really wanna get rid of your mush” Mills spits. “but you like my band when pull comes to push, so I’ll follow your face so we can carry on this charade….”

Now, ok, I admit, a condemnation of social media is always gonna win friends around here, but as a wider point, this war against superficiality is only going to be won by music as real as that on “Full Nelson.”

Or to put it in a bitesize chunk for this immediate society: we can resist Mark Zuckerberg but you don’t really want to resist Massive Wagons if you like rock n roll.

And it’s rock n roll of the most British type too. The opening track on their third album, “Under No Illusion” pokes fun, perhaps, at those who might think they are an overnight sensation. “you can pay to play,” goes its hook, “but play it your way….” That it does it over a most agreeable Little Angels type gleefulness is a mere bonus.

Even better, maybe, is “Billy Balloon Head” which rockets along with all the swagger of The New Roses, “Sunshine Smile” merrily announces itself on something of an Aerosmith groove, while “Northern Boy” is absolutely proud of its roots. Heartfelt too, you may well get a little lump in your throat if you’re from working class stock.

“Robot (Trust In Me)” reminds of Terrorvision’s “Pretend Best Friend”, while “Back To The Stack” gets major bonus points for being a homage to Rick Parfitt.

So they’ve condemned Facebook, they’ve written about Quo, frankly Massive Wagons need not do anything else, but instead they get even more in my good books by writing “Hate Me” which has all the melody and crunch of the aforementioned Ginger, while “Last On The List” is a superb mid-paced rocker and is proof that Massive Wagons could pretty much pull anything off – and a fine example of their tongue in cheek style comes in the line: “be nice to the people that give you free drugs….”

A five piece band in the classic mould, there is some real grit in these twin riffs, and there is a Cult flavour to “The Ballad Of Verdun Hayes” and a real gang mentality in the backing vocals, and as if to prove there is still something of the outsider about them, then “Ratio” offers something a little left field, while “Tokyo” deals with the struggle to “make it” with typical bluntness – and a neat line in a Wildhearts hook to boot.

Massive Wagons deserve all the adulation they’ll get from this. “Full Nelson” is brilliant. Whether it makes them household names, only time will tell, but they will most certainly end up with a lot more friends….

Rating 9/10

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