THE DICEMEN – Double Six (own label)

Double SixThe Dicemen release their new album Double Six on My 3rd. The band, based in Watford, consist of Ken Spearpoint on acoustic bass, Kevin O’Brien on guitar and Richard Brandon on mandolin, bouzouki and vocals. The album has twelve tracks, six new and six singles/re-mixes.

The album opens with ‘Living The Dream’ a cheery tune about artists of all kinds keeping the faith that they will make it. On balance, the bounce of the tune and optimism of living the dream overcome the refrain of “it’s a nightmare”.  ‘Throw Of The Dice’, which rounds off the album, is a joyous tale of old players, dogs who still have some days left etc. on a tale about a band who reckon they can still make it. The Dicemen “strongly deny that this song is in any way autobiographical”.

‘The Migrant’s Lament’ is a version of ‘Over the Hills And Far Away’, nicely folkie but referencing Greece, Turkey, Southern Spain – the travel spots and day-to-day living of modern migrants/refugees. ‘Village Fate’ (the spelling is correct) is a lovely description on the one hand of the old-fashioned enjoyment of life to be found in a village fete but it’s also a sense that this life is passing – the old teacups that you see, like “your grandma kept for best/like her, their time is past and they are swept up with the rest”. As the modern world loses the simple enjoyments of, say, plate-smashing fun, there is also the thought that as time moves on “who knows what the village fate will be” – though the line works just as well if it were written, “who knows what the village fete will be”. After half a century, Ray Davies might need to shuffle along the village green bench a little and make some room for The Dicemen.

‘Party Of Two’ is jaunty, contrasting the potential invitees to a dinner party – one of the couple preferring the likes of, amongst others, Plato, Gandhi, Chekov, Beethoven in opposition to their partner’s preference for Hemingway (because he likes a drink) Jesus (in case they ran out of wine), a celebrity chef. You get the gist. This is another fun track, that I imagine brings smiles to a live audience.

More seriously, ‘Hope Lies Bleeding’ ruminates on the war in Ukraine and ‘Church On A Hill’ is a song to play around Armistice Day, a folk song with echoes of military drums and the brass of a military band in its arrangement.

Double Six, then, is an enjoyable album drawing on the band members’ years of playing. I imagine the music comes over well live. The band are described at the top of their website as having “folk, post-punk and indie roots”. Apart from one aspect, the album feels more influenced by folk and indie.

The aspect which leans towards post-punk are some of the lyrics. To give an example, ‘View From A Bridge’ is a gentle, rolling tune, fifties/sixties lead guitar break, pockets of brass on the song – and a lyric which makes ‘Delilah’ seem gentle. The ‘hero’ of the track describes his life falling apart, loses his partner, drinks on a session, sees his ex kissing a new partner, and “with a flash of my knife it was the end of her life”. He reflects, “The world keeps on turning while your bridges are burning” and then “As her life was failing, I climb up on the railing” and falls/jumps from the bridge. Similarly, ‘2020 Vision’ looks back in anger at the year 2020 and, with twenty-twenty vision, the singer doesn’t like what he sees – Brexit promises contrasted with the reality of queues at the docks; America wanting to be made great again, though there are flames in the White House; the lovely image, the “man who lives in Downing Street can’t even comb his own hair”; kids missing their schooling – and missing their Gran locked in a care home (Covid). These two are fine songs, well played, well sung, splendid lyrics (see for yourself in the video below) – but, to my mind, crying out for pace and delivery linking more to punk than to indie and folk.

You can see The Dicemen live this summer in Abingdon, Edlesborough (the village of ‘The Church on a Hill’), Tring and Nuneaton, details on their website. Double Six suggests they might be fun to be at.

Mike Wistow

Artists’ website:

‘Over The Hills (The Migrant’s Lament)’ – official video:


We all give our spare time to run Our aim has always been to keep folking a free service for our visitors, artists, PR agencies and tour promoters. If you wish help out and donate something (running costs currently funded by Paul Miles), please click the PayPal link below to send us a small one off payment or a monthly contribution.