Album review: THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG – The Defiant

The Men They Couldn't Hang - The Defiant [Released 22.09.14]

The Men They Couldn’t Hang (TMTCH) return with their first new album since 2009 and one that marks the band’s 30th anniversary (they were on hiatus between 1991 and 1996 though!). Amazing to think that thirty years have passed since ‘Green Fields Of France’ was a hit single and their classic debut album ‘Night Of A Thousand Candles’ released in 1985.

This album doesn’t have the punk edge of their debut, instead it’s more like the folk rock of that other band who do very well indeed under the mainstream musical radar the Levellers.

There are some cracking foot stompers on here, invariably drink features in the lyrics somewhere too! ‘Raising Hell’ kicks the album off in fine style and I defy anyone not to be dancing around to ‘Turquoise Bracelet Boy’.

Quieter moments too with the lovely ‘Carrying The Flame’ (which reminds me of the type of song Robb Johnson would do), whilst ‘Silver Chains’ shows off the musical dexterity of the band from guitar through to banjo and bazouki.

The band isn’t afraid to make a statement on modern society with a couple of songs to make the listener think, namely ‘Fail To Comply’ (featuring some lovely harmonica and violin playing) and ‘Hardworking People’. Neither likely to feature on David Cameron’s iPod methinks!

Thank goodness bands like TMTCH are still going and more importantly making enjoyable and at the same time thought provoking music. A fine album to mark their thirtieth year. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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