As albums made by QPR managers go, it’s true to say that nothing will ever equal Harry Redknapp‘s 2012 debut I Left My Cash In Rosie’s Bank Account; The club also has a formidable cohort of music-making supporters, including The Clash‘s Mick Jones, Sex Pistols‘ Glenn Matlock, Pete Docherty of The Libertines and our own faves here at Sentinel Daily, booze-fuelled Rockers The Dirty Strangers. So it’s fair to say that current manager Gareth Ainsworth is on a hiding-to-nothing releasing an album into the wild with longtime musical partner Lee Van Sargent under the Cold Blooded Hearts moniker…
Early signs aren’t good; Opening with a brooding, semi-power ballad in the shape of High isn’t a particularly good idea. Ainsworth adopts the sort of croon somebody who has achieved a degree of success mimicking David Coverdale at his local karoake, with predictably disappointing results, but second track Love’s Lost, a perky rocker, fares better with it’s driving rhythms and clear production from former Asia/Buggles man Geoffrey Downes.
Hollow is an attempt at Southern Rock romanticism that doesn’t quite reach the heights it aspires to, whilst Eastern Sunrise matches Ainsworth’s classic rock ambitions to Van Sargent’s more obvious clanking pub-rock-via-Oasis moves; The trouble with music like this is that it often sounds great in a boozed-up pub at closing time surrounded by close mates and good times but rarely stands up in the cold light of recorded day; Despite having a gestation period that would have had an Elephant crying out for the induction stirrups, and being produced by a man who is an acclaimed production wizard, this remains the work of a band with limited recording experience, and sounds as such.
The band inject a bit of fire into Cultish stripper anthem Worth Waiting – it’s probably Ainsworth’s most convincing performance on the record – but half cock is still the first phrase that comes into the mind as it wends it’s way into the folder marked ‘Dawn After Dark rejects’… At this point the realisation dawns that The Cold Light of Day, though put together with total sincerity on the part of it’s protagonists, isn’t really a record that’s going to stand up to stiff critical perusal. With the shackles of highbrow condesention removed, Cold Road and Grey can then be enjoyed for what they are, which is undemanding, competently rendered dad rock.
The final trio of songs (and it should be noted here that the tracks provided for review don’t correspond to the CD track listing), led by wannabe epic Broken Sky, carry on much as the rest of the record, a mix of lyrical cringe (Ainsworth only wrote the lyrics to one song so he can’t be held responsible for this) and well-meaning hamfistery, although the album’s best track, Conspiracy of Silence, does lurk amongst these three – if you’ve lasted this far, you’ll enjoy it.
You may think this an overly harsh critique of TCLOD, and I have to say that it’s not intended to be an exercise in pure carpage. This is clearly a side project for Ainsworth, and not an, erm, cold-hearted cash grab masquerading as ‘proper’ rock n’roll. Nobody should ever be dissuaded from following their dreams, it’s true, but at the same time, if you’re charging the full retail rate for people to listen to the result of those dreams then you have to be ready for a bit of honesty. As a curio, many loyal Rangers may feel they need to shell out for this, but it’s hard to see this album really being of interest to anybody else.
The Cold Light of Day releases on July 21st.