Thursday, 30 June 2011

Life of Live - The Men They Couldn't Hang

In the late 80s the Men They Couldn't Hang were one of the best live bands going but a mixture of musical chair record companies , bad timing and bad luck meant that they never quite made the deserved break through. For example one of their catchiest singles was nudging the lower reaches of the chart when radio one banned it form their playlists as it was felt the line "have come here to watch me hang" was insensitive in relation to a current news story. This despite the song being clearly about rebel sailors in the time of Wellington!

In 1990 they released their most straight forward commercial op/rock lp. The Domino Club toned down some of the folky stylings but the ear for melody and the story telling lyrics were as strong as ever

The songs fitted right into the live set and I remember the concert being the usual mix of manic dancing and passionate singing/shouting along.

I've posted 2 tracks from the Domino Club, the bitter sweet ballad Australia and Great Expectations that has all the catchiness of a hit single that never was. Both tracks have friendships drifting away. With Australia it is geography and with Great Expectations it is settling down, relationships and a job verses wild schemes and petty crime.

The lp came out as I left poly and these 2 songs always take me back to that final summer

Great Expectations - The Men They Couldn't Hang

Australia - The Men They Couldn't Hang

The band broke up after the Domino Club, as if they had given it their best shot and thought well if it didn't work with this lp it never will. They are back together again touring and releasing lps. I saw them recently play live again. Still the same manic dancing although by the look of some at the front it may have been prudent to have the St John's Ambulance on standby

Up to date info can be found on their website here

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