So, whilst being the best boat-themed-folk-punk band in Hastings may not sound that special, Matilda’s Scoundrels have, in three short years, built themselves quite a reputation and following. Comparisons to the likes of Bootscraper and even the (later-era) Dropkicks are natural, and they probably sit somewhere between the two in terms of the folk v punk balance.
The album, As the Tide Turns is packed with the appropriate levels of folky-punk raucousness which would have anyone but the most ardent diddlydeeophobeTM dancing away. I guess it says more about me that in only my third review for Apathy and Exhaustion, I find my second song with a “what shall we do with the drunken sailor” breakdown, but in the second track, “Take It To The Streets”, here it’s both more obvious and more appropriate.
The stand out track is possibly “Bow To The Powers”, here the folk and punk merge seamlessly, in a track that’s got enough bounce to dance to, but deep (pun intended) enough to enjoy in more serious moments.
After “Bow To The Powers”, “Mr Martyn”, starts fairly mellow, but picks up into a raucous tune. From this point on, you pretty much know what you’re getting with each track, but it’s a lively journey that keeps you listening. “Blood In The Rum” is nicely dark and moody, and “Friends Of Mine” could well become a scene favourite. I can see these guys becoming a regular fixture at Beautiful Days festival for years to come, and that’s no bad thing.
I’ve been listening to the album a fair bit, and I think it’s fair to say that as lively as it is, it doesn’t quite capture the fun that comes from seeing the Scoundrels live, but in many ways that doesn’t spoil anything as definitely keeps them out of novelty band territory and forces the listener to take them seriously despite the obvious joviality. The popularity of folk-punk seems to have waned a little in the last couple of years, but the likes of Matilda’s Scoundrels show that on the underground (or should that be underwater?) there’s still plenty of talent to keep the sound alive.
If I had a criticism, the opening track, “Burn It Down”, flicks between folk and punk in way that is, I think, meant to build anticipation, but ends up sounding a little disjointed. On the whole though a thoroughly enjoyable album, highly recommended.
Have a listen for yourself on the bandcamp player below…
You can buy As the Tide Turns” here (CD/Vinyl)