For us there is little as rousing and rejuvenating as punk rock at its aggressively mischievous best especially when carrying old school loaded attitude and rebellion. In the UK alone we are blessed to have a plethora of such stirring propositions across the country with so many seemingly discovered and uncaged through the excellent label, STP Records. The latest to do the inimitable deed is Hung Like Hanratty, no newcomers to punk devilry, but set to cause a major outcry of pleasure and new support with latest album What You See Is What You Get.
Hailing from Sutton-in-Ashfield, Hung Like Hanratty raised their first middle finger together in 2011, the band name inspired by a man hung in the UK in 1962 but whose guilt has since been questioned. Whereas many bands focus on worldly ills and injustices, Hung Like Hanratty targets those everyday irritants and its participants which piss us all off, songs which simply have devilment and fun running through their core. Previous albums, the 2014 released Human Pig and its successor 50 Shades Of Shit two years later established the quintet as one of punk’s irresistible incitements though pound for pound What You See Is What You Get is a much punchier, dynamic, and addictive protagonist.
The album immediately surges through ears with Clampit Town, the swinging rhythms of drummer Kye Bosh and bassist Tez Tickle driving the instant revelry from first to last note. Vocalist Al Sation stands centre stage exposing the lo fi clothed antics, surrounded by tuneful backing and viperish hooks which bite from the guitar of Vallam amongst Rick Ettes’ riotous riffs. It is a simply outstanding start which has body and spirit bouncing alongside a broad grin, and fair to say the track echoes the album ahead and its title, just it is what you hear is what you get.
The following Lawyers For You stomps around like a fusion of The Adicts and Dirt Box Disco, laying down gentle teasing lures which rise up into irritable charges, moments which will undoubtedly echo every time you see those infernal TV ads. As with most tracks, the song’s title tells you all you need to know about the focus of attention, Disabled Parking another delicious example. Again hooks and grooves become a fresh addiction as rhythms get the body up to misdeeds, Al Sation a magnetic roar poking at the relevant targets. All that is needed is someone to invent a way to have this blaring out every time someone encroaches on spaces they are not eligible for.
Through the provocatively insightful punk ‘n’ roll of Harvey Weinstein and the bold grubby stroll of Stop Playing With Yourself, the album easily keeps attention and participation enslaved, even if neither of the undeniably galvanic tracks quite matched their mighty predecessors. Equally they get slightly eclipsed by Shut My Gate, a Vibrators meets The Damned uproar we have all expressed at one time or another.
As to the last track, there is a rawer edge to Neighbourhood Watch, old school punk driving the contagion compared to more new wave like hues of earlier tracks. Vallam’s guitar catches flames throughout bringing a hard rock scenting to the holler before Evil Clown fingers and torments with its flirtatious escapade. Arrowing straight for the blimp trying to direct the world, this is simply sheer salacious punk craft at its most addictive; vaudevillian punk panto and more potent than a horde of politically charged complaints.
The dark nagging of Outer Body Experiences is just punk manna to these ears, Tickle’s darkly seductive bassline alone reason enough to get inescapably hooked with the jagged claws of the track escalating through the other members. Its glorious act is quickly matched by the open irritability of Keep Your Cat Off My Garden, fine lawns and roses coming before the family pet and in turn Taxi Driver where all our grievances are forcibly aired by the band.
For all the lyrical insight and connections so easy to find, Hung Like Hanratty simply write unapologetically contagious and gleefully insubordinate punk songs, Ten Bob Millionaire and Mr Boring further rousing examples, both tracks infectious trespasses with a dab hand at melodic enterprise and deviously compelling hooks, each continuing the individuality in the band’s sound from song to song.
Closing with the album’s stomping title track, Al Sation the barker fronting a belligerently defiant punk show refusing to bow down, What You See Is What You Get is simply one of the punk riots of the year. Add the fact that the STP Records appetite has been grabbed by the band and Stu and Co only have an a hunger for meatiest morsels going by their releases to date; the album is a undoubted must.
What You See Is What You Get is released September 29th via STP Records, being unveiled at North East Calling in Newcastle.
Pete RingMaster 05/09/2018
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Brill c.f. Brill band met So at smugness great set