It’s as the opening salvo of the title track breaks the silence around me that I am reminded just how much I miss Black Hats, it also begs the question was the wonderful Austerity for the Hoi-Polloi really seven years ago! I’m afraid it was. Tempus does indeed fugit! I was unaware that the band was out and about again until this landed in my inbox; no fanfare, no unnecessary palaver, just business being done and done well, everything that the band were known for.

This open track is a fantastic blend of what has always been great about the Hats; a rhythm section built on deft reggae-infused bass lines and skittering beats, that slightly anxious, new wave energy, the sharp, melodic punk edge that also served the likes of The Jam so well, and a Costello-esque vocal line…Elvis not Lou, that is. Add in some blistering brass sounds and the slightly cryptic, street-philosophical lyrics and everything feels good in the world.

All We Ever Wanted slows things down bit, a mid-paced indie groover that shows that the band, for all my post-punk references, are all about the here and now, a real mainstream chart botherer, if there was any justice in the world…though this is a world where, even as I write, Ed Sheeran has three songs in the top twenty so what do I know?

Those reggae rhythms really come to the fore on the choppy Sleep Patterns, a swaying wash of solid grooves and razor wire guitars, as restless and claustrophobic as the subject matter it portrays and Just A Time sounds like the perfect bridge between the Hats past and present, their classic sound made over for today, poignant and precision guitar riffs cutting their way through a beguiling and complimentary weave of beats and bass.

The only thing I love more about having this band back with new recorded material is how out of the blue its release was…though that says more about how out of the loop I am. Anyway, a great quartet of songs, welcome back fellers!

Previous articleSiamese Youth –  Electric Dreams (reviewed by Dave Franklin)
Next articleRoses – Sophie Dorsten (reviewed by Dave Franklin)
Musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, blogger, quantum spanner, left footed traveller, music journalist, zenarchist, freelance writer, reviewer and gemini. People have woken up to worse.

1 COMMENT

Leave a Reply