BLOODLINES - MERRY HELL
Release Date: 1st November, 2016
Genre: Folk-Rock with a punk attitude & indie ethos.
Band Members: Andrew Kettle (Vocals), Virginia Kettle (Vocals), John Kettle (Guitar), Bob Kettle (Mandolin & Bouzouki), Nick Davies (Bass), Lee Goulding (Keyboards), Neil McCartney (Fiddle) and Andy Jones (Drums)
Location: Wigan, Lancashire, UK.
Record Label: Merry Hell Music
Always a firm favourite on the current live circuit, Merry Hell have just released their new fourth studio album called 'Bloodlines', a marvellous follow up to their critically acclaimed 2015 offering 'There's A Ghost In Our House and other stories" It is insightful, thought-provoking, political but at the same time deeply personal. A modern and highly relevant album about and for ordinary people. It celebrates extraordinary lives and loves, but at the same time challenges and exposes the causes for conflict and separation and seeks to find common ground. It expresses the hope that through togetherness, it can be an antidote to alienation and division. The band are known for their great and joyful hooks, stirring and meaningful songs and 'Bloodlines' has them in abundance. This new collection of music is unusual for Merry Hell as it is the first one to feature the voices of all eight band members...it is their togetherness album.
Commenting about the album Merry Hell say that "Bloodlines is an album for individual listening and for sharing, for reflection and for dancing and, above all for singing along. We hope you'll take the opportunity to do all of that!"
The album begins with the very timely and sage 'We Need Each Other Now'. It evokes the power of peace and united voices. With a strong celtic feel the title track 'Bloodlines' centers on our interconnections, genealogy, personality and family trees. "You're woven like a tapestry, all bound together with bloodlines".
The very timely 'Come On, England!' is a celebration of all that is great about England and our history, but champions the change of bad attitudes like intolerance, racism, totalitarianism and greed. It is an alternative national anthem which encourages collective responsibility. It has a great chorus as well "So stand up come on England! Live up to your history! Your heart can't be held in a flag or a crown. Raise your tea-cups and glasses, you bold lads and lasses and drink to the spirit that will never lie down". Many have fought and died for our freedoms like the Diggers and Levellers,. "Only loving can save us. Only giving will raise us. So we welcome all travellers of sweet liberty and raise all your voices to defended our democracy. For equality, justice and community."
The sublime fragile and haunting acepella 'Coming Home Song' written by Bob Kettle is a very poignant song about the ongoing refugee crisis. It has the feeling of the Fisherman's Friends song. Continuing the celtic feel 'All The Bright Blossoms' is about the passing of time. Love, judgements and tears all fading in time like bright blossom.
The tender, gentle and thoughtful 'When We Are Old' compares the changing of the seasons to our getting old "To face a new twist in the road. I promise the fire in me now, it will never grow cold....we can watch all the seasons unfold....when we are old". A powerful call for change is the central theme on the rousing 'Stand Down'. "We are freedom, we are mercy, we are justice......if you can't see us - stand down! If you don't believe in us - stand down! If our names do not belong on the very tip of your tongue - stand down......Pack your bags and move along!" Merry Hell have some great lyric writers and 'Sailing Too Close To The Wind' by John and Bob Kettle is a wonderful example. "The world's on fire but our hearts are cold, we're clenching fists for hands to hold!". Moving into Americana territory with its great melody is the beautiful 'Chasing A Bluebird' written by Neil McCartney. A prison break and a call for freedom are the themes for the infectious 'Over The Wall'. All rousing choruses and blazing fiddle solo's, Next up is the lush and ecstatic 'Under The OverKill' written by Virginia Kettle. With a traditional folk feel 'Man Of Few Words' paints some wonderful imagery of a man who can't describe his love. This wonderful album finishes with the joyful and uptempo 'Sweet Oblivion' full of sharp and comic ironies.