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Merry Hell Merry Hell
Album: Come On, England! (EP)
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 4
Website: http://www.merryhell.co.uk

This mighty octet's mighty fourth album Bloodlines has hardly been off my CD player since its release, and they're also hailed as one of the country's premier live acts, with appearances scheduled at a good number of festivals this season (including Saltburn!). This EP is being released to maintain their profile, sure - but it's also a great encapsulation of the sheer uplifting power of their music and the impressive variety of emotional responses they can conjure with their total-quality original songwriting and impressive musicianship. This EP kicks off (and how!) with a pair of rousing numbers taken from the Bloodlines album - Come On, England! and We Need Each Other Now - representing solid anthemic folk-rock at its very best. Maximum contrast is then provided with Lean On Me, Love, a newly stripped-down rendition of the passionate yet tender and haunting anthem (originally a highlight of the band's second album Blinkā€¦ ) that provides a much-needed reminder of the role of love in our troubled times. This track is a taster for the band's forthcoming acoustic album Anthems To The Wind (I can hardly wait!). The EP's finale is a stonking live (vintage February 2015) rendition of The War Between Ourselves, the band's celebrated clarion call for us all to stop in-fighting - a song that has been played at every Merry Hell gig since the band's inception in 2010.

David Kidman