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Whipping Boy: Heartworm

"The first in our series of forgotten, lost or just plainly missed classic albums"

 

HEARTWORM by WHIPPING BOY
Released in November 1995 by Colombia Records

 

Tracklisting:
1. "Twinkle"
2. "When We Were Young"
3. "Tripped"
4. "Honeymoon Is Over"
5. "We Don't Need Nobody Else"
6. "Blinded"
7. "Personality"
8. "Users"
9. "Fiction"
10. "Morningrise"
11. "Natural

Whipping Boy formed in Dublin in 1988, the band consisting Fearghal McKee (vocals), Paul Page (guitar), Myles McDonnell (bass, vocals), and Colm Hassett (drums). Going by the name of Lolita and the Whipping Boy they started out performing cover versions of songs by The Fall and the Velvet Underground before     shortening their name when their female guitarist found religion and left the band. After a couple of EP's on the Cheree label, they released their debut album, ‘Submarine' in 1992 on Liquid Records.
Their live performances raised their profile, with McKee known to cut himself with broken glass on stage. ‘Submarine' was critically acclaimed though commercially unsuccessful, and led to a deal with Columbia Records, who issued the band's second album, Heartworm, in 1995.
This album is an absolute masterpiece but unfortunately it's the perfect entry into our ‘Hidden Gems', as unbelievably even during the height of Brit-Pop it passed under the radar. Singles off the album ‘We Don't Need Nobody Else', a mainly spoken verse - addictive chorus, and ‘When We Were Young', a catchy song with great lyrics and obvious hit material; only got to No.51 & No.46 in the UK Singles Chart respectively.
The album's contents and music is very diverse ranging from moving, tenderness, and beauty, anxious, intense, and powerful to aggressive. In my eyes (and ears) influences before and after range from The House of Love, Icicle Works, Big Country, Ash, Placebo, The Long Pigs & The Smiths.
The songwriting with their tales of everyday life, domestic violence and love, seen through the world-weary and cynical eyes of frontman Ferghal McKee are epic.
From the haunting beauty of the cello in the intro to album opener ‘Twinkle' setting the tone perfectly before the guitars, bass and drums come crashing in, you know you're in for a roller coast ride of emotions.
The group split up in 1998 after being dropped by Columbia, leaving a third album unreleased. The ‘self-titled' album was eventually released in 2000 on their own Low Rent label, and again without any success.
The band reformed in September 2005, announcing several Irish dates and mentioning the possibility of recording another album, which unfortunately never materialized.

 

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Jim Powell