Police Dog Hogan - ‘Wild By The Side Of The Road’ - ‘how to do it right'(December 22, 2016)
The expansion of the once ‘stock’ folk acoustic instrument line up to include electric guitar, drums and bass is nothing new, unless folk rock has passed you by for 50 or so years. The inclusion of keyboards and brass is possibly more recent, as is the continued drive towards more expansive soundscapes. Unfortunately, it’s now fashion to try that, but not everyone ‘hits it’. It’s not a question of adding more instruments, it’s integrating them into a contiguous entity. Listen to the intriguingly named Police Dog Hogan and you’ll find a band that ‘hits it’ in spades. And their new album ‘Wild By The Side Of The Road’, due for release on 17th February 2017 is a perfect example of ‘how to do it right’.
The combination is fiddle, banjo, mandolin, brass, drums and guitars used to create a melange that includes folk rock, country folk and the occasional blast of bluegrass. The result ranges freely from energised full-steam ahead songs that ooze vitality to quietly perceptive narratives with wickedly sharp observations. The intense messages of ‘Tyburn Jig’, ‘Dixie’ and ‘Black Road’ will sweep you away, while the echoes of ‘Let My Spirit Rise’, ‘The One On The Left’ and ‘Our Lady Of The Snows’ evoke memories, and the evocative ‘Fare You Well’ simply offers an edge to make you reflect.
There’s a strength of the songwriting pouring across ‘Wild By The Side Of The Road’ with the pulse of bass and drums laid behind the weave of guitar, fiddle, banjo and mandolin, while the brass accents are perfectly placed. This is definitely a class album.
Police Dog Hogan are: James Studholme (lead vocals, guitar) Eddie Bishop (violin, vocals) Tim Dowling (banjo, vocals) Tim Jepson (mandolin, vocals) Don Bowen (bass) Michael Giri (drums, vocals) Shahen Galichian (accordion, vocals) and Emily Norris (trumpet, vocals).
Review: Tim Carroll