Coming to the debut, self-titled, album from Möngöl Hörde part of me thinks any review should compare this work to that of Million Dead, frontman Frank Turner’s previous, now defunct, hardcore band. But, as I have little knowledge of that band, I’ve come to this new one almost totally fresh and as a fan of Turner’s from his ‘solo’ work with backing band The Sleeping Souls.
As well as Turner on vocals the band features Matt Nasir (of The Sleeping Souls) on guitar and Ben Dawson (also formerly of Million Dead) on drums and their album kicks off pretty well as I expected with four blistering chunks of hardcore that run into one another but still retain their own identity.
Across the record it is this sense of identity between the songs that really stands out. While some hardcore albums are simply short sharp shock after short sharp shock with little dynamic, Möngöl Hörde features a surprising array of textures that bring in everything from those SSS moments to more post-hardcore leanings highly reminiscent of Reuben.
While the music is consistently tight and blistering there are moments where Turner’s evident English-ness and more recent stint as a man asked to play the Olympic Games opening ceremony and general hipster-beloved folk-punk troubadour come through a little too much, so screams of “Watch your fucking step” and the like sound slightly laughable.
That said his delivery elsewhere is excellent and I was actually surprised how good his shouting passages here considering he’s become known for a very different style and in other parts his delivery is reminiscent of John Cooper Clarke, without the slightly ill-fitting Invisible Girls backing.
Across the record various issues are dealt with many of which we have heard from Turner in the past or on punk and hardcore records in general, but here they seem to general have a more considered, dare I say it, ‘grown-up’, feeling to them, which isn’t often heard in my experience of most hardcore.
Ending with a highlight in Hey Judas, a track that explores music, art and creativity through the medium of a what if story about Paul McCartney and John Lennon being time travellers from the future, the debut album from Möngöl Hörde is a surprisingly varied, if angry and bile-fuelled, delight, and I am surprised how many times I’ve come back to listen to it again.