Ferocious Dog’s eponymous first album was a wild and raucous affair, not unlike their live performances but there have been changes since last year. Three members of that line-up remain: lead vocalist Ken Bonsall the Mohican man, multi-instrumentalist Ellis Waring and fiddler Dan Booth are now joined by guitarist Les Carter, bassist John Alexander and drummer Scott Walters.
The music is still pretty uncompromising but it’s tighter and more accessible. Ferocious Dog have looked to their forebears and contemporaries: The Men They Couldn’t Hang, Levellers, Merry Hell – looked and learned, borrowed and absorbed and produced a shit-kicking album. I suspect that the Parental Advisory sticker has more to do with the band’s political stance than the single profanity that I was able to locate. As with its predecessor, From Without includes one traditional song, ‘Raggle Taggle Gypsy’, which takes the same political stance as the rest of the album: reject wealth and status and side with the underdog, and there is also part III of ‘Mairi’s Wedding’.
‘Living On Thin Air’ quotes from the Levellers but the lyrics are by Nick Burbridge who is mate so I guess we can let him off but later Ken and Dan nick a line from Ralph McTell for ‘Slow Motion Suicide’. That’s a bit cheeky but property is theft, right? The outrage is high in ‘Poor Angry And Young’ but even that is tempered by Ellis’ decoration. ‘Ruby Bridges’ is a very clever song about school segregation and that’s followed by ‘Crime And Punishment’ which could be an Odgers and Simmonds historical epic.
Yes, Ferocious Dog are borrowing a bit freely but they are also developing their own voice and their own sound from what they hear. This is only their second album, remember, but they are on their way.
Artists’ website: http://www.ferociousdog.co.uk/
‘Slow Motion Suicide’ live: