Single Review: The Madding Crowd – You Give Us Hope

You have to love a band that evokes thoughts of a Thomas Hardy book in their name. While Hardy’s novel was somewhat ironic as it suggested that the rather chaotic world he created was some kind of a rural idyll, The Madding Crowd’s  last EP 2016’s The 78th Bridge on the Rochdale Canal suggests something as gritty and real as can be. Happily at least nothing was dead in the water.

Unfortunately The Madding Crowd suffered some real life strife as their drummer left the band and things rather drifted while a replacement was found. After two years the Madding Crowd lads are releasing the track they had in the bag You Give Us Hope (a live favourite), and momentum is happily restored with the guys raring to set the stage alight on the Manchester live circuit again.

A listen to that last EP reveals a band of wide influence and style, from gritty loose punk to strutting glam and a full share of introspective moments amongst the hard stuff. There’s a real mix of the likes of late glam (Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel) and the tongue in cheek of early punk like Sham 69, Splodge, and Half Man Half Biscuit. Fans of Frank Turner will find material to admire here.

A knowledge of that last EP is useful to know as isolated on its own You Give Us Hope reflects the joyous elements of the band; a jaunty marching start and a Pogues style of party. In a Fat Les Vindaloo kind of way You Give Us Hope offers a devilishly catchy and a simple style track (until you come to try to write such a banger yourself of course). This is a track to lighten your day and of course to bounce yourself insensible while sploshing your pint over everyone in the mosh pit.

You have to admire a band that doesn’t take itself seriously and which just want everyone to have a good time. To this end The Madding Crowd present a most welcome return to the live music scene and it’s quite true; they give me hope. The track is out on 21 September 2018.

The Madding Crowd are support to the southern blues rock guitar heroes (Texas rather than Sussex) the Kris Barras Band on 22 September at Manchester’s fantastic Night and Day Cafe. Expect more gigs to follow from The Madding Crowd now these lads have their beat back.

Chris R

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