The Balladmongrels is a raucous new band featuring Dogs D’Amour frontman Tyla J. Pallas and Northern Irish singer-songwriter Matty James Cassidy. Their glorious mix of raw guitars, dark romantic lyrics, beautiful melodies and rousing choruses will implant themselves in your brain, heart and soul and never let go.
Shiver me timbers boy n girls for here before me is a pair of Rock n Roll lifers who’ve tumbled into view with an album full of ragged, beautiful, melodic, timeless Rock n Roll tunes. The idea began under lockdown when the pair were set to release a single with a tune from each on either side of a 7″ but after one or two light refreshments it unfurled into a much bigger project where they would co write a whole albums worth of songs and see what forms and hey presto as if by magic (or Guinness) this bastard plopped out and what an inspired decision that was. An explosion of inspiration and the give and take from a true collaboration later and ‘Trouble’ is born.
Think Tyla’s Balladeering and then that gentle acoustic lilt gets fuel injected and given a sharp shot of energy then you might be in the right ballpark. Its not rocket science we’re dealing with here its rock n bloody Roll and top notch Rock n Roll I might add.
Right enough waffle, Here goes. Opening with ‘Ballad Of The Knucklemen’ its a rambunctious swaggering slice of Rock n Roll where Matty kicks off the lyrics then he’s joined by the familiar rasp of Tyla J Pallas and this beast is shifting through the verses and chorus with a swagger and joir de vivre. The guitars are red raw and the song is a blast and to be fair the red herring is Balladmongrels being that this record bloody well rocks and the preconceived misconception of it being one of Tylas balladlike records couldn’t be further from the mark this is a great big pair of swinging bollocks, sure it has light and shade but the bass thump of ‘Chambers’ before that swirling organ tells me that this record is gonna please a lot of people. what a tune my friends – if this was an offering from Keif and Mick people would be soiling their strides its that good. What a bobby dazzler this is and that distorted gob iron is sublime.
This is the sound of a couple of very talented songwriters being inspired by each other and feeding of that like a pair of frenzied piranhas. ‘Trouble’ is a song of boundless energy, It’s timeless but boy does it sound fresh and put a smile on my boat race.
We move seamlessly from the slashing raw guitars of ‘Trouble’ to the big chord swagger of ‘How The Beautiful Fall’ where the pair sing back and fore to each other and the listener gets carried away on one of those soft songs for hard men that Tyla is well known for. You want drinking songs? of course they are here. ‘Swingin’ Jack’ is another barroom song full of staggering and swaying chords but its got an air of sing-a-long one you’ll happily participate in. The duelling guitars on ‘Highwayman Blues’ are fantastic as they entwine two very different styles from the choppy ragged riff and the sound of a white falcon in full flight is majestic and really hits the sweet spot in my ears.
There is time for a breather as the epic ‘Warship’ sails into view and unfurls its pirate flag for a blistering five plus minutes of twisting and turning rock n roll. The middle eight where the drums shuffle you off into battle with a swirling keyboard before the guitars fire off is majestic.
If you’re looking for some fire then ‘Evil Under The Moon’ will be your jam. Thunderous, aggressive, and barking like a dog – what a rush! Catch your breath during ‘Long Ships’ and smile that you have had the pleasure of indulging in such a good record. But save some because you’ll need if for the final track as you stand on the table and raise your glass to the Balladmongrels and toast the ‘Good Ole’ Daze’. I have the pleasure of hearing some pretty spectacular albums before they hit the streets and 2023 has thus far delivered some special albums from many corners of the musical world and a heap of genres and I can confidently say that none thus far have gone down as well as this bundle of ‘Trouble’. I hope that there is plenty in the tank of this writing partnership and we can sail many journeys yet with the Balladmongrels for this is formidable and above all exceptional songs. cheers you buggers!
Not that I have a complaint about this record but if I did it would be there are only ten songs on it. Get this band on the road I need to see and hear these songs live in some sweaty bar.
Author: Dom Daley