FEROCIOUS DOG – Fake News & Propaganda (own label)

Fake News & PropagandaFake News & Propaganda is the fourth full electric album by Warsop’s punk-folkers, Ferocious Dog. It’s dedicated to the memory of Ken Bonsall’s son Lee who, suffering from PTSD after his experiences with the army in Afghanistan, took his own life aged just 24. That’s why Ferocious Dog do what they do. The band has evolved over the years and now only Bonsall and fiddler Dan Booth remain from the original line-up. They may be better musicians now but they are as passionate as ever. There are seven writers credited here, including producer Phil Wilbraham plus lyrics acquired from Nick Burbridge and Jeremy Cunningham.

‘Cry Of The Celt’ leads us in easily, a sort of position paper defining one of the band’s inspirations after a long instrumental introduction but ‘Traitor’s Gate’ takes the gloves off. It has a pseudo-historical setting but is thoroughly modern in telling the story of a man who fought on against authority until the end. ‘Cover Me’ is Burbridge’s poem and sounds so much like a certain Levellers song; inevitable I suppose, but it’s one of the star tracks. ‘Fake News’ is the title track and it names names; you don’t have to guess what it’s about!

Dan Booth wrote ‘Lacey-Lee’ for his young daughter and it’s one of the album’s more delicate moments but the underlying message of ‘don’t let the bastards grind you down’ only emerges in the last lines. Cunningham’s lyrical contribution is the single, ‘The Landscape Artist’, which should be the ecological protest song of the year – I can hear it echoing around festival fields already. ‘Up All Night’ is the anti-Brexit song and ‘Justice For 96’ is about the Hillsborough affair – it’s gone beyond the events of the day, now.

Next up is ‘Bedlam Boys’ which Ferocious Dog claim as their own. Come on, guys, you know better than that: just make sure that the royalties go to the right place. Finally, ‘Yellow Feather’ is a message of positivism: ignore the haters and do your own thing which is a good way to live. Fake News & Propaganda is another excellent album from the Dog; so good I’ve just bought the title I’m missing. How did that happen?

Dai Jeffries

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‘The Landscape Artist’ – official video:

FEROCIOUS DOG From Without (own label)

FEROCIOUS DOG From Without (own label)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.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website: http://www.ferociousdog.co.uk/

‘Slow Motion Suicide’ live: