Today I discovered a new (to me, at least) band. Formed in Wigan from the ashes of 1990s folk rock band The Tansads. In 2010 former members of The Tansads got together for a series of reunion concerts, following which some of those involved decided to continue as a band with some new members, and named themselves Merry Hell.
The new band is formed around five former Tansads – brothers Andrew Kettle (vocals), Bob Kettle (mandolin / harmonica) and John Kettle (guitar) plus drummer Andy Jones and keyboardist Lee Goulding.
Joining those five are John Kettle’s wife Virginia (vocals / guitar) as well as bassist Nick Davies and violinist Neil McCartney.
In the wake of 2011’s debut album “Blink… And You’ll Miss It” and 2012’s follow up “Head Full Of Magic, Shoes Full Of Rain” comes the group’s third album “The Ghost In Our House And Other Stories…”, which is out now.
Opening track “There’s A Ghost In Our House” gets you going with an upbeat tempo despite the downbeat lyrical content. The production crystal clear and full, each voice and instrument easy to zero in on. Brilliant.
“Leave A Light On” is a beautiful and sad ballad tackling the subject of separation that steadily grows in intensity and is surely one of the highlights of this record.
“The Baker’s Daughter” is another fabulous folk singalong which takes a wry look at a relationship between the hardworking baker’s daughter of the title and her rather lazy man.
In fact, I could easily list every song on this album as a highlight, because I don’t think there’s a duff track amongst them.
As well as having plenty of cleverly told tales of human relationships – check out “Love Is A Game” for example – this record also contains plenty of political comment, such as the timely “No Money” and “The Old Soldier”. The political leanings of the group members apparently run “from red to green and back again” and that’s clearly reflected in the lyrics.
Simply put, this is a fantastic modern folk album, brilliantly performed by a band that clearly love what they do, and stuffed full of excellent songs to make you sing and make you dance – even as it makes you think. Very highly recommended!…
1. The Ghost In Our House / 2. Leave A Light On / 3. Summer Is A-Comin’ / 4. The Baker’s Daughter / 5. Human Communion / 6. The Old Soldier / 7. Rage Like Thunder / 8. Love Is A Game / 9. Pillar Of Society / 10. No Money / 11. Hey, Scotty! / 12. Reason To Be / 13. Out Of My Mind / 14. Feed Your Soul / 15. No Place Like Tomorrow