Let’s face it, the human mind is a complex thing. It can be difficult to have more than one thing going on, and half of the time you don’t even know what’s happening up there… Some things just can’t co-exist. Expelling this rule in a fantastically riotous half-hour are The Coathangers with their seventh album, The Devil You Know.
Pre-released single, ’Bimbo’, is the infectiously upbeat opener. Completely innocently, the track opens with a straight bassline, with quintessentially on beat, twinkling top notes of a keyboard. This is later ripped apart and kicked into overdrive with raucous thrashes of fuzzy guitar and a semi-sung chorus. The rest of the album follows suit with an angst-infused collective of fiery ditties, ‘5 Farms’ and ‘Crimson Telephone’.
Then I have an epiphany. This ain’t no ordinary album. This lot have an agenda. Political and social commentary bursts through the foundations of the album like a balloon on a cactus. This is most evident in the fourth and seventh tracks, ‘Hey Buddy’ and ‘F the NRA’. In ‘Hey Buddy’ a guttural and hoarse voice croaks through the song laced with simple yet powerful twangs of guitar, proving less is more as they growl “Hey buddy are you looking at me? You call me a faggot and you call me a sleaze”. ‘F The NRA’ does just what it says on the tin; a poignant, impassioned plea against gun violence, propelled by a gritty, punk-driven energy.
The album winds to a close with quieter and melancholy, but nonetheless badass, tracks ‘Last Call’ and ‘Lithium’. Both include a gentle and heavily reverberated vocal resonating the sound of Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval. The guitars sound like they’re crying. And now I’m crying.
The Devil You Know takes you from wanting to go out, make some noise and paint the town red, to staying in bed and never getting up again. And we love every second of its racing thirty minutes.
The Devil You Know is out now via Suicide Squeeze. Catch The Coathangers live on their upcoming tour:
24th April – The Latest Music Bar, Brighton
25th April – Studio 9294, London
27th April – The Cookie, Leicester
28th April – SWG Poetry Club, Glasgow
29th April – Soup Kitchen, Manchester
30th April – Arts Club (Loft), Liverpool
1st May – The Key Club, Leeds