Be Nice To Everyone
Here’s a conspiracy theory for you: Gentle Hen are trying to take over the world. Hailing from Northampton (no, not that one, Doc Martens fans; the one in Massachussets) they have just released their third album but in doing so have left a few snippets of evidence of their cunning masterplan in full view.
Exhibit A: the cover art. A picture of a cat is surely the oldest trick in the book to lull us into a false sense of security, but that doesn’t mean to say it can’t work.
Exhibit B: the title. If everybody’s being nice to everybody, no-one will notice as the three-piece charm their way to the top.
Exhibit C: the activity of songwriter Henning. On Twitter he keeps engaging us all in conversation about things we like, particularly musical, and inviting us to respond to his suggested topics in the form of a quoted retweet to “allow more people to join in the conversation”. Too bloody nice, which is instantly suspicious, yes? His own website warns people that they’re going to have “the best time” there, adding “You’re never going to want to leave. Sorry.”
Exhibit D: the album. The sort of songs that fill warm summer days, that carry on gentle breezes and that evoke so many of the right connotations. ‘A Few More Lifetimes’ positively dreams its way between your ears. ‘Lean, Then Catch Your Fall’ could be the friendly cousin of Band of Horses’ ‘Laredo’ whilst ‘There’s A World In The World’ evokes The Byrds at their best. This song hints at the band’s ulterior motivation though, urging us to celebrate mosquitos because they mean that summer is here. The title of album opener ‘We’ve Got The Goods’ even tells us straight that they have the means to take over the world before demonstrating it with an instantly hummable tune and singalong chorus.
There is a slight flaw in the band’s plan however, and that is getting too carried away with it all. One or two songs perhaps go on a bit longer than they should and it is in these moments, where the listener may find their attention distracted, that Gentle Hen’s hypnosis is at its most vulnerable. If they sort this out come their fourth album, we may all be not doomed.
We’ve Got The Goods
‘Be Nice To Everyone’ by Gentle Hen was released on Friday 19th October. You can buy the CD for a remarkably good value $10 (yet more proof of the masterplan?) from their website www.gentlehen.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Hartley is the author of “Capturing The Wry”, an autobiographical tale of the unsigned side of the music industry, published by i40Publishing and available here. After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song he has also turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free, at Broken Down Records.
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