EP review: Haggard Cat – Cheer Up

Blisteringly loud and powerful new EP from killer Nottingham duo Haggard Cat…

EP review: Haggard Cat – Cheer Up
Mischa Pearlman

Starting again is rarely as easy as it seems. That’s even more the case for bands. Even if your previous outfit had a dedicated following, there’s no guarantee your fanbase will cross over. That’s something Matt Reynolds and Tom Marsh have had to contend with a couple of times now, first when the band they were previously in, Baby Godzilla, were forced to change their name to HECK, and then when that group called it a day. When that happened, Haggard Cat was elevated from being the pair’s side-project to their main musical outlet. Yet they’ve never been daunted by any of it.

In fact, last year’s second full-length, Common Sense Holiday, cemented the duo’s reputation as one of the UK’s premier noisemakers. With the five songs on this EP, Haggard Cat continue to make music louder and more ferocious than a two-piece have any right to make. It kicks off with Quit Your Jobs – a rush of raucous, unhinged punk’n’roll energy and good life advice. It’s followed by the groove-laden and – by their standards – laid-back Amateur Dramatics, which adds a bit of nuanced melody into the equation. It’s not quiet by any means, though. Matt’s voice still sounds, as ever, like his throat’s been slashed and he’s trying to get all his words out, while Tom’s drumming is tight, intense and insistent. It sounds like beautiful chaos.

The sonic frenzy reaches preposterous proportions on the riotous Water Me Down, yet somehow the band still manage to make the chorus catchy as hell. It’s followed by Fucking TV – a boisterously choppy, full-throttle hard rock anthem – and then unapologetic closer COW, an incisive and acerbic indictment of capitalism. ‘For all intents and purpose I’m now just a cow so milk me,’ bellows Matt. ‘Milk me ’til I’m dry.’ It’s on this delightful note of vitriolic rage that the EP ends, so while it probably won’t help cheer you up, it’ll definitely get your blood boiling and pumping. Another phenomenal set of songs from a band that sound unstoppable.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Mclusky, METZ, Part Chimp

Sentient is self-released on September 6

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