Album Review: Ferocious Dog – “Fake News And Propaganda”
Now on their fourth album, the obvious touchstones for London folk-punks Ferocious Dog are the Pogues, the Levellers and the Men They Couldn’t Hang. It’s a genre which seems to get a shot in the arm every few years or so – some of you may remember the very similar and under-rated Roughneck Riot from a few years back, and Ferocious Dog have certainly been getting a few positive column inches in the last couple of years, and have landed support slots with the likes of the Wildhearts and the aforementioned Levellers.
Overall, “Fake News And Propaganda” is a decent album – as well as the typical folk-punk influences referred to, you’ll hear echoes of Billy Bragg and Frank Turner’s politically-aware take on the genre in here as well. Opener Cry of the Celt and Traitor’s Gate read like a history lesson on the persecution of those in centuries gone by, before the title track brings us back to the present with a well-aimed swipe at both internet based hatemongers and the gutter press as a whole.
The only slight issue I have with this album is it’s a little bit sedate at times, especially compared with Roughneck Riot’s two efforts a couple of years back which had a real seething anger barrelling them along. You’re in no doubt from the lyrics of songs like the mournful Justice For 96 (about the Hillsborough disaster) and the urban decay lament that is The Landscape Artist that Ferocious Dog are definitely a band with plenty of anger and a message to get across, but I just wish they’d do it with a little bit more urgency. It’s only on the frenetic Up All Night and the MacGowan-indebted Bedlam Boys that they really up the pace, although it has to be said that the latter is a much stronger cut than the former.
Don’t let that put you off though – if you’re willing to accept that this is a mainly mid-paced album then it’s definitely a worthwhile listen. Put it this way, if it were a Levellers album you’d happily peg it as their best since Zeitgeist (and yes I know the competition there isn’t exactly fierce, but hey…).
If you can ignore the fact that this is generally quite a sedate affair, then "Fake News And Propaganda" isn't a bad effort at all. Ferocious Dog are clearly a band with plenty to say and a decent knack with a tune. If they can turn a bit more of that anger into energy to propel these songs along then there's every reason to suggest they could come up with a genuinely good album - unfortunately, this isn't quite it. But it's almost there.