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Black Hats - 'Bad News Telephone' EP Review


1. Bad News Telephone

2. All We Ever Wanted

3. Sleep Patterns

4. Just A Time

There is a tradition that runs through British music of spikey, slightly punky, new wave or challenging songwriters. Examples would be the Kinks, XTC, Billy Bragg and Paul Weller.

Black Hats are not yet in that exalted company and have a way to go but, and I stress this is only a but at this point, they may just have what it takes to rise above the competition and head towards the top. For the first two songs they made me think of a combination of Big Audio Dynamite and the Police. In the third song, 'Sleep Patterns', there is even a hint of Two Tone giants The Specials. The fourth song introduces something else again and makes them sound a bit like Elvis (Costello not Presley!)

There is clear desire to combine Pop and Punk with a very English style of singing which works much better than it should have any right to. The lyrics are not yet quite at the top level in every song but there is sufficient quality to give me hope they might get there.

The music is surprising, in some songs clearly veering to the poppier end of Punk and New Wave with a touch of Electronica and even hints of Two Tone at times, but that’s no bad thing. It’s like the revolution will be easier to listen to if it’s lead by Black Hats.

I’m not sure how often they venture north of their Oxford base but I hope they do soon to let me see if they are as good live as they are on this EP.

Review - Iain McClay

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