You might have heard the buzz about Mongrel giving their debut album away free with The Independent (a fine newspaper, and mine of choice) this past Saturday. The band is the latest outfit from outspoken and rather tall Sheffield legend John McClure who's previously voiced his poetic lyrics over past outfits Judan Suki, 1984, and most recently, Reverend & The Makers. When I interviewed him at the Lincoln stop on his last tour I was struck by his immense sense of conviction and an all encompassing desire to sort almost all the wrongs in the world. Sometimes overwhelming, always engaging.
Mongrel sees him joining forces with ex-Arctic Monkeys bassist Andy Nicholson as well as Matt Helders, Drew McConnell from Babyshambles, and Joe Moskow from Reverend & The Makers. The album is scattered with verses from (what i'm informed) are some of the country's best emerging MC's. Now, as an album it's a bit of a mixed bag. There's a healthy dose of hit, but an equally weighty amount of miss. Sometimes, such as on album opener Barcode, the song seems drowned by the attempt to integrate an MC verse, where as on other tracks it works perfectly well. A defining album it's not, but an intriguing effort it certainly is. Less of an obvious platform for John's lyrics as his previous outfit, but still putting them across with a weighty punch thanks to the Arctic Monkeys rhythm section. Interesting, intriguing, but in no way a perfect effort.
[MP3] Mongrel - Chosen Ones - Thanks Last.FM
[MYSPACE] Visit Mongrel on myspace here.
[BUY] Get hold of Mongrel's debut album here from 23/3/09.