You might remember me talking about a York-based blues-punk two piece called …And The Hangnails late last year. Well, they haven’t been slacking off since then, playing plenty of live shows and also becoming fast favourites of BBC Introducing in York & North Yorkshire. Their second album BARE is poised for release in early November – I’ve been fortunate enough to hear it already, and it’s pretty damn good.
The band’s first record No Time For Naysayers started off with a bang thanks to the killer ‘Fear Only Fear’, and BARE is no different. ‘Yours’ opens up with a filthy, swaggering guitar riff and relentless, pummelling drums, a fitting soundtrack to the song’s theme of primal lust (“anything you want/it’s yours”). ‘Wah’ and ‘Gone’ ramp up the tempo even further – the former sounding like The Black Keys on speed, and the latter a two-minute punk-rock battering ram of a song with a bluesy middle eight. It’s clear that guitarist Martyn Fillingham knows his way around an infectious riff, as demonstrated on ‘What You Want Me To Be’ and ‘Cold’, while drummer Steven Reid is an absolute powerhouse throughout – no more so than on the propulsive ‘Alt Bro’ and the frenzied blast of ‘T.P.O.K.’
There are a few more introspective moments here, though they’re no less loud. ‘I’d Go’ unleashes a seething bundle of resentment, frustation and confusion in its knockout chorus – it’s definitely one of the standout tracks here. Elsewhere, ‘No Reason To Go On’ could be the pissed-off brother of ‘Golden Brown’ by The Stranglers – it uses a similar-sounding riff as the backdrop to a man falling out of love with his girl, getting angry about it, and thrashing out a dispassionate song on his guitar. Other than that, there’s very little time to pause an catch your breath until the album ends with artfully wasted blues stomper ‘Take My Pain’, whose strung-out verses give way to a gloriously fuzzy, almost deafening chorus.
Overall, BARE sees …And The Hangnails stepping their game up – they sound even tighter and more focused than on their debut recording. The chemistry between the two of them is clearly evident (I highly recommend catching them play live so you can see for yourself), and hopefully this record will take them far beyond our city walls and into the hearts and minds of people across the UK. On the strength of this set of songs, they certainly deserve it.
BARE is released on the 2nd November.