18 October 2013

The Lancashire Hotpots - Crust For Life

As I'm writing this up and having a few listens of Crust For Life, I started the day in a really foul mood. I'm suffering from a heavy cold, almost confined to my bed and I right now I would give a day's wage for Night Nurse. And with a 1am shift start tonight, not ideal preparation. Then a favour request from The Editor which may transpire to be the perfect tonic for me. "Do the Lancashire Hotpots' latest album for me please as they're making an appearance at the Cluny, Newcastle tomorrow". Good idea, so onwards.

With an album cover like that, and with Bernard Thresher smiling at you, you know instantly that this isn't going to be dour nor bear resemblance to any Leonard Cohen or Radiohead material. Now as many of you may already know, I use Facebook on a regular basis and seeing one or two friends making reference to The Lancashire Hotpots or publicly listening to them has always left me with a whiff of intrigue.

Comedy folk quintet The Lancashire Hotpots, as the name suggests are from The Red Rose country and looking at their track record, I couldn't help but think, oh God, this isn't another Barron Knights act surely? A friend, and I'll save embarrassment by not mentioning names, used to blast out a couple of their records which all things considered is very dated and perhaps wouldn't go down too well in today's society. Political Correctness, song reworkings, you know what I'm on about.

Thankfully not with this act. All the LH's material is completely original although they occasional like to play on a few song titles, Bernard Thresher is the voice of the group, singing with a very broad Lancashire twang. Their views on life are offbeat, observational and all throughout Crust For Life it's very amusing. Plenty of pies in it too. It Were A Brilliant Night tells of an all day drinking session and of the mischiefs the patrons get up to, while Baking Song is almost certainly a send up of  BBC TV's Baking For Britain with the odd tease. Technical Support Song burses a nursery rhyme twist while the rockabilly Poundland sounds like an ideal tune fit for Johnny Cash.

We Love The North obviously showcases their local pride and would make an ideal signature tune for the tourist board up there but my favourite tune? It has to be My Wife Is An Ann Summers Rep and the title should tell you all you need to know, but could you imagine the Wurzels writing this up? More than warrants a listen I promise you. Final track Tissue In The Wash threatens to end proceedings on a damp note literally until the singing begins but I get the impression from the Oasis-style rhythms that a certain Manchester band has been long overdue a parody. Oh, happy days.

I'm sure the likes of PC World and Poundland will be eternally gratefully to this Lancastrian quintet for helping to raise their profiles. This isn't a half hearted effort obviously and if you can't take this with a big grin on your face, then you have got a serious clinical problem or you really are a terminally miserable guts. Full marks for entertainment and imaginative writing from the Lancashire Hotpots and I genuinely feel much better now. The world can't get by without a smile you know. Or pies.

9 out of ten. Almost perfect...almost.

Buy the album here on Amazon
Official website of The Lancashire Hotpots here. Prepare for some merriment
Listen to Crust For Life here on Deezer

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