‘Bloodlines’ from Merry Hell - socio-political comment, rage against injustice and enduring hope(November 12, 2016)
By any measure Merry Hell are classic proponents of classic English folk rock ... the music, the songs, the themes and lyrics place this band firmly in England ... and fully aware of and prepared to reveal its injustices, faults, conflicts, social issues and absentee politics, still they celebrate their homeland. Their latest album of socio-political comment, raging against injustice and ever-enduring hope, ‘Bloodlines’ is a worthy follow up to their previous outing ‘The Ghost In Our House’. In true Merry Hell style the songs range from powerful heart-pumping anthems through soft tear-jerking ballads to distinctive songs of perceptive observation and comment.
The strength of ‘Bloodlines’ resides in its fearless social examinations, single-minded embracing narratives, memorable melodies and hook laden compositions. It’s there in the striking lead vocals, formidable guitar riffs, pirouetting mandolin breaks, intense fiddle inflections and driving bass. The power of Merry Hell’s anthemic songs arrive laden with enough spirit to move your soul and implore you to join in, the deliver the reasons why we are where we are, within ‘We Need Each Other Now’ and echo a cry for understanding, equality and justice with ‘Come On England’. The softer edges of Merry Hell come through the acutely affecting ‘When We Are Old’, the poignant ‘Sailing too Close to the Wind’ and the memorable melody and piercing lyric of ‘Under the Overkill’ while for social comment and a rage against inequity you could do no better than ‘Stand Down’ or the defiance of ‘Over The Wall’ through lyrics that take no prisoners.
Merry Hell is a band that continues to deliver songs with an utterly compelling edge, songs with real-world meaningful narratives and relevance, in short, a band that grows in stature with each successive album ... and that my friends is all you could ever ask.
Merry Hell are Andrew Kettle (vocals) Virginia Kettle (vocals) John Kettle (guitar) Bob Kettle (mandolin, bouzouki) Nick Davies (bass) Lee Goulding (keyboards) Neil McCartney (fiddle, backing vocals) and Andy Jones (drums).
Merry Hell website: www.merryhell.co.uk
Review: Tim Carroll