Hastings band release their debut album and its full of Rum and protest!
I’m currently sitting on a train to Brighton and listening to the album for the first time. I can picture being on a pirate ship full of shanty singing scoundrels who are more like Robin Hood of the sea rather than robbing the good on land.
The 6 piece play standard guitars, bass and drums with the added extras of tin whistle, mandolin, accordion, banjo oh how will this sound in the album production.
The backing vocals throughout makes me feel like I’m in an old tavern with sawdust covered floor and surrounded by olde mates talking about the beasts you have slain. In the instance of this album; ‘As The Tide Turns’ the beast is the corporate pirates that have raped and pillaged the land we call Earth and other wrongs that are going on around us.
Track By Track.
‘Burn it Down’ starts with splashing cymbals and mandolin with a kick in the teeth of heavy guitar from Dan that feels like a ship at storm. Quinn’s voice sets the tone and jumps in with both feet, of which mine are tapping. Jason kicks off the 2nd verse and their vocals contrast and both can change the tone of a song with a twist of the snarl.
‘Take to the Streets’ starts with acoustic and accordion and sounds a wee bit western movie-esque. Then Jason’s gravelly voice takes you off down the road to wherever he wants to show you. The mix on this track is especially well-balanced in the break before Dan’s guitar thumps in, and then gradual layering of every instrument 1 by 1 as the drums gets louder to the crescendo. ‘Rise and fight, bite, strike’ is the perfect lyric to follow as I’m rocking in my seat. Definitely one of my favourite tracks on the album.
‘Shackles and Bones’ a song which deals with the USA justice system has Quinn bellowing at his hardest how he doesn’t lose his voice. There is a clever 3 tiered chorus where Jason hangs on Quinn’s words and Jens delayed echo of Jason’s – love it.
‘Bow to the Powers’ a true anthem at the outset and starts to lead you down one route before making a shifty turn. It’s like the resistance standing up against the oppressors accompanied with yin-yang acoustic/electric guitar and mandolin.
‘Mr Martyn’ pays homage to the late John Martyn, a singer/songwriter who moved to Hastings. He is one of Quinn’s major influences and it’s a lovely ode. Kicking off with Jason on banjo the song drew me in like a moth to the light. With uplifting riffs and drums driving like a marching cavalry, it would have done Mr Martyn proud.
‘Bottle of Rum’ another contrasting intro leading into the song. It’s the party anthem, any song with rum being shout out is good with me. Although ‘there’s blood in the rum’ here the tongue in cheek characters so descriptive; ‘A toothless whore and a flea ridden dog, I can’t see past the corset, the rum got me good’. We all have one of those coyote ugly stories! (right?).
‘Friends of Mine’ the most folky song on the album and is about a dark time Quinn found himself in. It’s about friends that were there to help him out of a hole. ‘A friend of mine I do recall, is a friend of mine through out through all’. Setting the scene with the tin whistle taking you through the (Hastings) old town streets like the pied piper and Quinn’s wise words accompany you.
‘War on Drugs’ starts nothing like a Scounrel’s song and at just over 2 minutes the shortest track. But fast paced vocals and clever messages ‘Revolution can be the only fate on a war on drugs in a benefit state’.
‘Godforsaken Sea’ is a somewhat uplifting track and with the perfect elements to make it the set closer. The opening chords reminds me of the start of duelling banjos then all is forgotten when the rest of the band kick in. One subliminal part for me is the tapping of the cymbal at the end making it sound like a ship’s death toll.
‘Into the Fire’ is the final track on this journey and by all means a complete track that finds the tin whistle tweeting the main riff. It’s a good final track that holds together the energy, passion and angst from all the subject matter within but is melodic with it.
“It’s an album we feel is about the times we live in right now and about the opportunity to change the direction that all this crazy stuff”.
And it does what it says on the tin. There are complexities and thought gone into the song structures and production making this a great piece of art hidden behind simplistic notes. The intricacies of the mandolin, banjo and accordion are well blended which may have gone unnoticed by the typical fan at a gig sweating or chilling at the bar. The chugging guitar makes me want to chug beer and it’s only 3 o’clock!
The band have made their own sound and stamped their territory which is extending by the month. This is a band that can play a sticky floored bar or Glastonbury festival due to being accessible to all. With a fun attitude and serious lyrics these talented musicians will be coming to your town soon, lock up your bottles…
Release date 8/9/17