Hello and welcome to my Sunday Recommendation. Thanks for joining me. Every week I read great wildlife and nature books, stumble upon engrossing websites and hear wonderful new music. This is my chance to bring you carefully curated recommendations of all the best I’ve experienced – every Sunday.
If it’s folk, or independent, or about wildlife, nature or Orkney, I may love it, and so may you.
Emergency Lullabies – Merry Hell
This week I’ve been enjoying the new album from Merry Hell, called Emergency Lullabies. They have eight members, five writers and the album has fourteen songs. They make songs in the folk tradition yet manage to be both topical and universal at the same time. They are fantastic live, in small venues or at large festivals (remember them?). For some bands that doesn’t always translate into making great music in the studio for repeat listening; they are completely different skills. The great the news is that this album’s a triumph from start to finish. There are clever lyrics and memorable melodies, there’s a point to what they’re singing and it’s beautifully and sensitively recorded and mixed.
I love Virginia Kettle’s unrestrained voice on Sister Atlas, which clearly references Greta Thunberg, “When she came to state her case she was shushed and told to run along home little girl…”
Shushing is perhaps the least offensive thing Greta Thunberg was told.
There’s plenty of party on the album and it’s not all political, with joyous tunes like Sailor and the comedy of Violet. There are ‘hair on the back of the neck moments’ on Beyond the Call, a celebration of carers. The album is clever, funny, angry and Northern English in spades. Merry Hell embody many of the things that are wonderful and under-celebrated about this country.
The song Emergency Lullabies is soul-stirring stuff:
The album is a simple plea for humanity. It’s something we should all sing along with. I hope you will sing along with it too.
That’s it for this week. I’ll be back with more recommendations of things you might adore next Sunday. In the meantime, I wish you a great week. Keep safe, everyone.