I’m not even going to try and resist the temptation to inform you that Andy here used to do session work with The Sex Pistols, while his wife Piano played with The Slits, even though that has absolutely nothing to do with the music of Hank Dogs. However, it’s a good enough reason to introduce the remaining people in the band, which is Andy’s daughter Lily, and so this is either an impressively functional or a tragically dysfunctional family. Judging by this album, my bets are on the former.
Apparently as far removed from punk as you could possibly imagine it, Hank Dogs play Americana the way only a British band can do it. More than a little reminiscent of Indigo Girls, Hank Dogs have a wider scope, introducing Irish influences and an early-R.E.M. layered indie approach to their songwriting, even if the actual delivery of the songs bears no particular trace of this. Piano and Lily’s vocal harmonies are stunning, complex and ethereal, while Andy’s guitar work is subtly impressive. The band’s range is another surprise: from the meditative title track to the redemptive “Whole Way,” Hank Dogs seem to give in to no compromise, making the album they’ve always wanted to make.
Self-made, self-styled and uncompromising folk, then, and so maybe Hank Dogs aren’t as far removed from the punk rock that brought them together as first impressions may suggest. This is far more punk thank Blink-182 can ever even hope to be, and Hank Dogs aren’t even trying. All praise.
spinART Records: http://www.spinartrecords.com