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THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG – ‘Cock–A–Hoop’ Album Review

THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG – Cock–A–Hoop

The Men They Couldn't HangCelebrating thirty-four years since forming in 1984, legendary folk-punk agitators The Men They Couldn’t Hang have released their 10th album, Cock-A-Hoop (a phrase meaning “extremely and obviously pleased, especially about a triumph or success.”) and, as you would expect, it is a terrific continuation of the band’s excellent musical and lyrical legacy.

We are a bit partial to The Men They Couldn’t Hang here at punkonline.co.uk towers and this one opens with the mellow mandolin (I think) driven instrumental, Landfall with echoes of medieval folk structures and it sets up the superb Sirens where the band deliver a wakeup call to the left to rise up and defeat the upsurge of the right – all packaged in singalong choruses and a stomping beat that will have you linking arms and swirling around the dance floor!

On Arrow, the prominent mandolin/banjo leads to a mid-paced rocker dripping with delicious melody and catchy hooks whilst Salutations features a super organ supporting a brass ensemble and combining with the vocals to produce a track that blends Springsteen with The Redskins!

The signature The Men They Couldn’t Hang sound opens up Three Ships Sailing with a beautiful vocal lament joined by backing vocals and acoustic guitar as the band do what they do better than most as they tell a historical tale and relate it to today…stunning stuff! At the half-way point on this thirteen-track album, The Amazing Carrier Bag is a waltz-like ditty with clever bass, vocal and group vocal interplay and Four Winds Blow is a mellow ballad full of longing amplified by some plaintive violins.

The band go full on bluesy, pub-rock stomp on Pone reminding me of The Commitments and a rocking David Bowie (who the band once supported) as they display their soulful musical tendencies! The Queen Of Crows is a plaintive ballad with vocals, acoustic guitar and background violins adding to the brooding atmosphere in a New Model Army type of way and then Right Time, Right Place, Right Song displays the band’s ability to craft an up-tempo rock and roller full of feel good vibes. The Latin rhythms of Archangel with, what I think is a clarinet, just demands that you work on your cha, cha, cha – the variety on these thirteen songs is what many bands take three or four LPs to create.

The penultimate song, King Street Serenade presents a mid-paced folky rock effort full of nostalgia and clever west London focused lyrics and it is majestic songwriting that will bring smiles, tears and a whole range of emotions to the fore…with a superb saxophone solo for good measure as well! The album concludes with Nightfall and, in keeping with the opener, the band see us out with a mellow instrumental!

 

Get Cock–A–Hoop by The Men They Couldn’t Hang at all the usual online stores, you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

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