There’s big competition in the trendy and hip brass band section and I’m not talking Grimethorpe! Here’s the latest and the best, the debut album by the Hackney Colliery Band.
There’s Hypnotic Ensemble Brass, Hot 8 Brass Bannd, Youngblood Brass Band, Rebirth Brass Band and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band to name just a few from the other side of the pond that have made an impact over the years.
And then this album turns up sort of out of the blue as this time last year the Wah Wah 45s camp were all about the new Stac ablum, Turn That Light Out and her fantastic gig at the Big Chill Festival on Super Sunday (see HERE). Twelve months on, there’s a Colman Brothers album out and the fantastical debut by the Hackney Colliery Band.
But it’s about time for some we had our very own brass band giants and it’s seems to have come about quite quick as the album was recorded at the start of the year at the Fishmarket Studios with Nostalgia 77 on the desk (as was the case with the Stac album, good choice) and Capstone providing mixing duties.
The build up to the summer album launch (sorry we missed the launch night gig at the NewEmpowering Church and the Lovebox party!) started with a couple of singles releases that caused quite a stir, particularly the cover version of ‘Africa’ (what a great surprise that was!).
Formed in 2008 with a goal of moving feet in a dancing way (more than a marching band way), East London’s take on a colliery band featuring the full horn attack of trumpets, trombones, saxes, sousaphone and marching percussion in full acoustic glory – I’d love to turn up to rehearsals with Sue Perkins, one time stick controller of Yorkshire’s Dinning Colliery Brass Band (and then again, perhaps not).
I’ve always loved the Williams Fairey Brass Band album Acid Brass back in the late 90s with their versions of ‘Strings of Life’, ‘Voodoo Ray’, ‘What Time Is Love?’ and other popular tunes of the day. And HCB come at the genre with a similar attitude having musical backgrounds as working with groups as diverse as jazzers Porpoise Corpus, the Bollywood Brass Band, Jarvis Cocker and major orchestras.
So their eclectic repertoire and mining acumen (as an aside, I’ve worked in Hackney back in the day and there’s no pit heads around for miles) have dug up a heavy hitting take on Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’, deep afro jazz inspired cuts like ‘Pygmy Goats’ and even a gorgeous take on RHCP’s ‘Under The Bridge’.
Not so sure that ‘Closer’ works but that’s not bad thing when the rest of the album is so good; and it’s worth a mention that one of the best tracks in their original cut ‘What’s The Time, Mr. Wasp?’
You can check out HCB live at numerous gigs and festivals over the coming months but there’s that added bonus of getting this years’ #1 fashion statement, the brand new Hackney Colliery t-shirts (as modelled by Mr. wet t-shirt himself, Scrimshire after a dip in Tooting Bec Lido is it?)
Reviewed: Hackney Colliery Band – <em>Hackney Colliery Band</em> (Wah Wah 45s) Cat. No. WAHCD015 Release date: 1st July 2011
1. GTFA (3:47)
2. What’s The Time, Mr. Wasp? (4:49)
3. No Diggity (4:43)
4. Pygmy Goats (4:36)
5. Closer (4:54)
6. Right Foot Up (3:59)
7. Under The Bridge (4:21)
8. Slow Burn (4:52)
9. Use Somebody (5:11)
10. Africa (4:12)
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