As you may have heard, Haggard Cat are the band that entombed themselves within concrete for 24 hours in protest of Brexit. A collective that have always laughed in the face of conformity and obedience, they’re a duo that has never approached music conventionally and their latest venture, Common Sense Holiday is no different. It’s 11 tracks of varying length, each commenting on different aspects of modern life and it's respective turmoil and banality.
The colossal ‘First Words’ opens the album, bringing with it Haggard Cat’s signature riffs and bold drums. Then comes ‘European Hardware’. The music video was filmed during the band’s time in a concrete catacomb, and the lyrics offer a satirical view on the idiocy of Brexit. Guitarist and vocalist Matt Reynolds explained that the duo poured their frustrations and desire to escape everything into a “sing-along mantra for the downtrodden,” which is an incredibly apt description of the track.
‘Show Reel’ implores the listener to, “Say what you think”. Reynolds’ combination of harsh vocals and speedy riffs are both incredibly gripping yet mildly disjointed. As with each of the tracks here, ‘Show Reel’ is explosive and catchy, written cleverly to be a fun, upbeat rock song.
Bringing an entirely different tone to the album is ‘Time’. With lyrics spat pointedly at the listener and the drumbeats sounding bouncy, it’s certainly a favourite of ours. The chorus is sure to invite heads to bang and the guitar riffs offer the perfect frenzied tone for a wild live show.
‘Threads’ has a similar vibe to the previous track. It’s bouncy with immersive lyrics, leaving very little to dislike. The production of this tune is brilliant too, adding atmosphere and calm to an otherwise frantic song. ‘The Natives’ offers a little more peace as it slowly builds from the bare bones of a tune. Reynolds’ vocals are haunting, and the powerful riffs accentuate his vocal prowess.
A three-minute celebration of low frequencies, ‘Pearl’ is certainly an interesting track. The bass notes are enough to rattle your bones and when coupled with lyrics suggesting that Earth is a confusing mess, it’s certainly a unique song. That’s not to say it’s bad – it’s packed with Haggard Cat’s usual flair. However, the lyrics are a little unusual and we’re having a hard time wrapping our head around them.
From a short track to the album’s longest one, Common Sense Holiday closes with ‘Ghosts Already’. Like the other ten tracks, it offers a fully immersive insight into Haggard Cat’s brain. Taking time to listen to the album in its entirety will be an enjoyable experience, as each track offers different thoughts on the world. Contrary to popular belief (we’re looking at The Guardian right now), protest singers are still very much alive and kicking, and Haggard Cat has proved this with Common Sense Holiday.
Common Sense Holiday is released March 13th via Earache Records. You can pre-order the record here.
Haggard Cat will be touring this Spring, dates below.