Monday 21 January 2013

The Singing Loins - Here On Earth

Album review by

If you were given just five seconds to staple a label to Medway veterans The Singing Loins you'd have to go for folk-rock, but this would be a quite unjust and far too much of a simplification. With a career dating back over two decades (and including releases for Billy Childish's Hangman Records), it's fair to say they've been around the block a few times and will have no qualms about making music their own way with their own sound. Something they do wonderfully on 'Here On Earth', a record that sounds at the same time like lots of other bands and not quite like anything you've heard before (we're excluding their own back catalogue in this).

These songs are folk by way of punk, which may make you think of The Pogues or even *shudders* The Levellers. Both are way of the mark. 'Here On Earth' isn't as jaunty or as traditionally-influenced as The Pogues, or as shit as The Levellers. It's traditional English sounds they touch upon, but only on occasion could these be considered particularly olde-worlde; 'Crown Of Roses' being the most obvious example, but the slow, picked tale of "too much wine", 'Close Your Eyes', comes close and the lively 'Happy Me Up' completes a mid-album trio of classic sounding folky tracks.

On this record The Singing Loins are at their best when they break into their own unique sound, with a strong and often biting south-eastern accent and combination of influences that range from the folk we've mentioned to Dr. Feelgood to The Clash to Billy Childish. This is best captured on 'Hello Heaven', 'Harbour Wall' or the ace 'Monsters Ashore'. There's the odd tender song like 'Drunk And Fed' which manages to make putting a drunk male partner to bed after a heavy piss-up seem almost romantic. However, this is followed by the nasty morning after on the acerbic 'Try'. After a couple of decade or so in the business it's common for the spark to be gone and the band to become irrelevant. The Singing Loins still sound like they could teach the kids a thing or two though.

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