The eagerly awaited second album from folk-punk legends, Ferocious Dog does not disappoint. Building on the success of their superb debut, the new album, From Without cements their place in the Celt punk pantheon. With its tales of striking miners, poachers transported to Botany Bay and the bravery of school girl Ruby Bridges, I can’t recall a second album this good since Levelling the Land.
The whole album works. End of story. It’s musically tight, showcasing Dan Booth’s virtuoso fiddle playing- easily as good as that of Leveller Jon Sevink or ex-New Model Army contributor, Ed Alleyne Johnson; while the rest of the band contribute guitar, banjo, mandolin and a rhythm section that can dish out dance floor filling folk punk before switching seamlessly to ska. Vocalist, Ken Bonsall continues to deliver; weaving tales of injustice with songs of hope and defiance. A visually arresting front man with his giant mohican and a lyricist to rival any in the scene.
As the son of a miner, and someone who has witnessed first-hand the damage that comes in the wake of the death of that industry, the stand out track is Slow Motion Suicide. The heart breaking tale of an ex-miner cast aside by the economics of Thatcherism and his descent into alcoholism is both lyrically and musically stunning. I’ve only been lucky enough to see Ferocious Dog live once and Slow Motion Suicide was THE moment of the gig for me. The swell of the music in the final instrumental section sent a shiver down the spine and it is wonderful to see that musical wow factor captured on the album.
Other stand out tracks include Ruby Bridges; the bands ode to the bravery of a six year old African-American girl and her teacher Barbara Henry in the face of racism and ignorance. Marakana Mine tells the tale of striking miners and their fight for better pay while Crime and Punishment tells the tale of the aforementioned poachers sent down under.
If you love bands that tell stories and wrap them up in a top quality Celtic punk soundtrack and you haven’t sought out Ferocious Dog then get it done. You are in for a treat. Not bad for lads once teased for being a “shit covers band”.