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Mohican Jack – Out to Win EP

After a few weeks playing old Clash records with nothing new really interesting me, Belfast punk-rockers Mohican Jack very kindly sent me its debut EP, Out To Win. Aggressive, to-the-point punk with a melodic edge would be a few words to describe it — especially the ‘Fuck The Police’ song with its lyrics “Pull you over/ They don’t like the look of you / 999 / Fuck the police!” (Shit, I needed this).

The EP has seven tracks in total, beginning with the rousing ‘Today’s The Day’ and concluding with the indefatigable ‘Wrecking Ball’. In-betweeners ‘Born A Loser Out To Win’, ‘Two Wrongs’ and ‘Nine To Five’ are distinctively monstrous in their deliveries; while “One Way In No Way Out”, if only for the title, reminded me personally of a one-time shopping trip to Ikea that brought me great pain (if you’ve ever tried getting out of there on a Saturday afternoon, you’ll know what I mean).

Despite being a digital recording, Out To Win almost sounds as if was recorded for a live audience. Deliberate or not, I picked up a sense of “in-fighting” between the vocals and the instruments being played, which works to the record’s advantage and seems to serve as a statement of what the band has to offer when it comes to being on the road.

Without a doubt, the under-produced nature of Out To Win gives the record great character and definite punk appeal. The lads each perform very confidently in their chosen areas, spouting off, particularly, with some impressive guitar work and energetic drum-bashing to contribute to the overall, impressive sound.

Certainly, it would seem, this was a project undertaken purely out of the band’s love for making music, rather than a desire to just get noticed. The wonderful irony, though, is the former is what’s most likely to get people talking about Mohican Jack and anticipating more from the band in the months to come (I, for one, can’t wait to hear more).

(C) Andy Carrington, 2014.

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Hooligan – No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs

Punk has a reputation for being thrashy, immature, angry music; albeit going by the name “Hooligan”, the lads in the band come across as anything but. Steadily and confidently gaining momentum after putting out various singles and EPs (one of which I previously reviewed here), David Linehan and his mates continue to live and breathe the late ’70’s/early ’80s era of true punk music.

That is not to say Hooligan sounds outdated: With four well-crafted and distinctive tracks on wax, they present one of the most refreshing punk sounds I’ve come across in recent years. Whether confronting issues of white, racial self-awareness on the title track, or the sad fate of criminality (‘Cops And Robbers’), there’s a certain maturity in the way the band goes about its business.

Pretentious, though, the band is not: There’s a tribute song, ‘Calling Joe Strummer’, that makes it clear Linehan and co. are only human, and need faith and inspiration just as much as the next guy in order to get by (“We need you more than ever/ ‘Cause London is burning and me/ I’m still on the dole.”)

The darkest track of the EP, ‘Bandit Country’ (which samples Panorama!) proves to be a fitting conclusion, depicting the dangerous and hostile area within Northern Ireland during “the troubles”. What’s more it’s catchy; taking such a serious subject and managing to create a song that is primarily anthemic, without losing any of the grittiness, is really quite something.

I like the title track, I do, but the more I listen to it the more I think the live version is superior. Is that a criticism? Maybe. But it’s also a testimony to the collective talent of a band that is destined to impress many more people with its music in the years to come. (Pick up No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs on orange, green and white vinyl here).

– Andy Carrington

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The Cliche

Promo video for Sweet Jonny’s “The Cliche.” Taken from their EP “JSA.” Available to buy from http://sweetjonny.bandcamp.com/album/jsa

Produced by Ikonograph (www.ikonograph.co.uk)

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