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Merry Hell - Emergency Lullabies

  by Nicky Crewe

published: 25 / 1 / 2021

Merry Hell - Emergency Lullabies
Label: Merry Hell Music
Format: CD


Rousing and uplifting new album from folk rock outfit Merry Hell which celebrates resilience and unity

Merry Hell have responded to the challenges of this past year with an energetic and uplifting collection of songs that champion resilience and shared hopes and concerns. Based in Wigan, this eight piece band has its origins in the 1990's folk punk band the Tansards. They are a collective of friends and family who create a real sense of community in their song writing and performing. Their music is perfect for live performances and summer festivals, and that’s something none of us have been able to enjoy this year. They began the process of developing this album in a recording studio in France’s Jura mountains in Autumn 2019. They returned to lockdown and all its limitations. Remarkably they have managed to pull together a set of songs that capture togetherness and community while having to work in the separation and division of lockdown. All credit to band member John Kettle as producer, and the rest of the band for their energy and dedication for this achievement. Passionate singing, rousing choruses, meaningful lyrics with a wry twist and an almost live sound seems nothing short of a miracle in the circumstances. I loved the mentions of familiar places I can only dream of visiting at the moment, strolling down Princess Parkway in 'Handsome Sally', and the Northern Quarter in 'I Don’t Want To Be Cool'. There’s a love of the natural world in 'The Green Hills of Home'. Greta Thunberg and all the young people who support and fight for the environment are celebrated and acknowledged in 'Sister Atlas'. Frustration at the lack of action in the face of environmental crises finds expression in the title track 'Emergency Lullaby (Wasting Time)'.There’s a romantic later life love song in 'Younger Than You Were'. Other songs share ideas about society and how it could and should work. 'We Are Different, We Are One' and 'Go Down Fighting' are both a call to awareness. There’s a wry take on feminism and the status of women in 'Violet'. Two songs feature the massed voices of The Key Workers Chorus and The Social Isolation Choir. The already mentioned 'We Are Different, We Are One' and the wonderful tribute to front line workers and carers, 'Beyond The Call', written by John Kettle on the day lockdown was announced. I knew of Merry Hell by reputation, as a band to go and see live. Having listened to 'Emergency Lullabies', I can’t wait for the opportunity to do that. Until those times return I’ll make the most of listening to this energetic and optimistic celebration of the love, concern and togetherness that we can all share and draw strength from.

Track Listing:-
1 Go Down Fighting
2 Leave It in the Ground
3 Three Little Lions
4 Handsome Sally
5 Sister Atlas
6 Sailor
7 Beyond the Call
8 Violet
9 Younger Than You Were
10 The Green Hills of Home
11 I Don't Want to Be Cool
12 We Are Different, We Are One
13 Moonlight Parade
14 Emergency Lullaby (Wasting Time)

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