Album review: The Bar Stool Preachers – Above The Static

Get ready to rumble with seaside sextet The Bar Stool Preachers…

Album review: The Bar Stool Preachers – Above The Static
Ian Winwood

At a time when it has become a sad and established truth that great rock’n’roll bands no longer come from the English capital, at least The Bar Stool Preachers can claim to sound like they represent the country’s biggest city. Because even though this arresting six-piece were formed in Brighton and Hove, their frontman, the coarse and tuneful-voiced Tom McFaull, son of Cock Sparrer singer Colin McFaull, is a Londoner who sounds like he knows his Brick Lane bagel joints from his Chapel Market bakeries. Throughout this likable and arresting album, the vocalist’s Speakers’ Corner wallop affords the material the sense that its dispatches are written by people who know what it’s like to live on Not-So-Easy Street. In other words, this is believable stuff.

The band’s third album, Above The Static is in fact a series of guide tapes the results of which The Barstool Preachers felt could not improved. For the most part, likely they have a point. With a melting-pot sound that combines punk rock, folk music, ska, a little bit of old school soul, not to mention a bevy of choruses that might easily be re-appropriated by football crowds up and across the land, these dozen songs are delivered a manner designed to improve the mood of the listener.

Given that the group are not shy of tackling modern political matters – a lyric such as 'the working class is automated, be a robot or an Uber' is hardly a traditional sing-a-long – this is no small feat. Like The Barstool Preachers manage to combine real-world reportage with a rousing good time that is only occasionally a touch too upbeat for its own good. For the most part, Above The Static cuts through just nicely.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Rancid, Sonic Boom Six, King Prawn

Above The Static is released on March 31 via Pure Noise

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