Head Full Of Magic, Shoes Full Of Rain - Merry Hell
Mrs Casey Records
Once again, Merry Hell turns English folk music on its ear with release of their sophomore album, ‘Head Full Of Magic, Shoes Full Of Rain’. We first met Merry Hell after their 2011 debut, ‘ Blink … and you miss it’ In a phone interview we found out about how the band formed out of the ashes of The Tansads and were introduced to the Kettle brothers, Andrew, Bob and John plus Virginia, John’s wife who make up the core of the group. Virginia summed up the band’s musical roots quite nicely during our interview, “Even though we love our folk music and we play folk music, we've all grown up on pop as well. Some of the great bands from the 80s when I was growing up ... I always liked a song with a message and it seems some of those messages are just as strong and poignant now, around the world, as strong as they have ever been. So, it's great to be resurrecting some stronger social comment within those melodies.” That said there’s no soapboxing on Head Full Of Magic, Shoes Full Of Rain. The social commentary is interspersed with tales of everyday emotions. It’s the melodies that leave an indelible impression. The harmonies are sugar sweet and the hooks lurk at the turn of every verse. Andrew Kettle has a very ‘I’ve heard that voice before’ quality to his singing that makes it comforting, familiar and pleasant to listen to, with just enough rasp to echo the common sod. To my ears, he’s very reminiscent of Lee Mavers from The La’s, maybe one of those great bands from the 80s Virginia was referring to in our interview. I’d enjoy hearing Merry Hell take a stab at ‘There She Goes’ for that matter. Head Full Of Magic, Shoes Full Of Rain is stuffed with similarly memorable songs, and the album balances them nicely throughout the 14 tracks. Song 2, ‘Dreaming Of The Time’ is classic pop. ‘My Finest Hour’ has seemingly nothing to do with Winston Churchill. It’s about giving the guy just 60 minutes to win her love in the perfect display of unbridled affection. Merry Hell even ventures into what I would call global music territory, with the rollicking gypsy dance tune, ‘Let The Music Speak For Itself’. ‘Head Full Of Magic, Shoes Full Of Rain’ is even stronger that the debut and that speaks volumes about Merry Hell. Be it folk, pop, rock, punk what have you, this one’s got you covered head to toe.