This is a hell of a way to break up a quire Saturday afternoon – just under 40 minutes of Hackney’s own Great Malarkey. Touches of everything here, all tinged with urban politicality and hitting the heights of breathless oompah-band meets Nick Cave on ‘Merry Profits’ or the sleaze and waltz-timed ‘The Game Is Rigged’.
This is almost a circus of music and every turn and act has its place in the game but Alex Ware is the MC and she is ably assisted by Jason Nash on accordion, Owen Evans Banjo, trombone & guitar and Aidan Banks fiddle, Jake Appleby’s bass is insistent and supportive and they have added a horn section of Oscar and Jules – the whole band are working as a unit and whatever Alex asks of them they seem to manage.
I adore ‘Whiskey Too Far’ with its Tom Waits like description of the denizens of Hackney or the French-tinged ‘Haha Freak’ – a drinking song if ever there was one but with a vicious edge to it. They supported Toot & The Maytals early on and picked up a fair feeling for the dub rhythms in ‘Badman’ and their political edge comes over in ‘Poor Against Poor’ with a Balkan beat showing that they can cover the world of music.
The album is much more than just great fun, they have conscience as well but they never detract from one with the other. A stunning debut.