ALBUM REVIEW: Hung Like Hanratty – Dragged Up (Ratty Records)
Punk rock in its original incarnation aimed to shock, whether it was the way bands dressed, the language they used or what they sang about. Sometimes a band managed all three, and Midlands misfits Hung Like Hanratty are keeping those values alive.
The five-piece are a real Marmite band – I don’t know anyone who just thinks they’re ‘all right’ – and Dragged Up is their third album of shock rock, this time on their own Ratty Records.
Anyone who ordered in advance should get their copy on August 1, a week before it becomes available from the band’s merch page HERE and the usual digital downloading platforms.
But what’s it like? Well, opener I Hate The World gets straight to the point, with vocalist Al Sation hollering: “I hate the world, it’s full of shit,” over some heavy metal guitar soloing and a thunderous backbeat.
The little irritations of modern life are popular targets for HLH songs, and Twat On A Bike is perfect subject matter. “Whoaaao, has anyone told him, what he looks like?/Whoaaao, has anyone told him, he’s a twat on a bike!”
Nightmare neighbours are the subject of Al’s ire in Duggie The Druggie, which comes over like a foul-mouthed Toy Dolls song: “He likes to party, he doesn’t give a shite/I work all day and that wanker’s up all night”
The album’s title track Dragged Up is about being proud of your working class roots, advising: “Take your fucking opinions, and stick them where the sun don’t shine/You’ve got your own life, keep your fucking nose out of mine.” For me this raging rocker is one of the best things they’ve done.
Fuck With Me And I’ll Block You On Facebook is a self-explanatory rant about the keyboard warriors we’ve all come across on social media, while Inland Revenue fumes: “Declaring every penny, you’re doing things right, then the bastard taxman goes and drops you in the shite.”
Benefits blaggers who are always at the doctor’s are the subject of Mr Hypacondriac as Al rages “the only thing that’s wrong with you is in your fucking head”, while there’s another standout in Epstein’s Diary, which asks: “Would you like to come, come round to mine?/Yeah, I know Prince Andrew will be there, with Tony Blair – and lots of kids!” Absolutely scurrilous, but brilliant!
Same Shit Different Day rails against the mundanity of everyday life, while Marching On bemoans the demise of so many licensed premises on our high streets: “I really need a pint, but the pubs have been shut down.”
Dr White is a put-down of members of the medical profession who think they’re better than lower-paid folk who provide vital services, while Shift It is an impassioned tirade about the neighbour whose caravan is blocking out the light.
Things get all political on Puppet Government, where Al sings: “All politicians I despise, I’m fucking sick of all their lies” while Vets Hate Pets highlights the cost of veterinary treatment by a profession who [allegedly] “care about the money but don’t care about their pets.”
The final track, Living For The Weekend, is about looking forward to escaping the daily grind, and features some distinctive keyboards from the late, great Dave Greenfield of The Stranglers. There’s not a swear word in sight, and it’s the most commercial-sounding song they’ve ever done! Do I sense a single which might even get played on the radio? Surely not!
Hung Like Hanratty are not for the easily offended. They’re foul-mouthed and at times puerile, but this is another fine album of infectious tunes, powerfully delivered by a bunch of punk rock renegades who are getting better with every record. 8/10.