I always get excited when I hear news trickling through the grapevine that Californias Bryan Smalls has assembled The Hangmen to record some new music and when I got the PR to say ‘Stories To Tell’ was indeed done and in the can, I couldn’t wait to get me some.

Getting straight to business, ‘Broken Heartland gets ‘Stories To Tell’ off to a flier with its solid tempo and some cool slide driving this Rocker onward and upwards. With some really nice solo work. With very little fanfare it’s on with the show and always a band who simply let the music do their talking. As far as openers go this is a thumper, no messing about just good honest Rock n Roll with a decent hook sweet playing and a melody on the chorus that locks in to your good vibe receptors of your brain making this addictive and oh so sweet.

Play on. With a nice round ten tracks on offer Smalls laid back exterior and style is no more aparent than ‘Midnight Riders’ with its widescreen vision as the sun drops out of the sky its such a quality tune. You’ve gotta love the melody as it battles with the music for what grabs you most but this is where The Hangmen sit best for me – it sounds effortlessly cool as you’re drawn in. They turn up the amps for ‘Last Time I Saw You’ as the riff chimes the band are rockin out here just cruising through the gears.

Another shift in tempo sees the laid back ‘On The Outside’ go country roots rock. The acoustic guitars are out and its time to sip a beer on the porch whilst the Rock n Roll eases back. Four songs deep and four sides to The Hangmen painting broad strokes with a thread throughout thats totally recognisable which isn’t easy to do. That Hangmen tone is what captures your attention. It’s raw as a seeping wound but sweet as honey, ‘Sinister Purpose’ hangs its melody on a big riff thats classic and modern but always quality. The cowbell is out on ‘Bayou Moon’ as Smalls leads his troops down a Stones rabit hole that oozes class. As the groove takes hold I’m gazing into the sky hoping we can all get some of this ‘Bayou Moon’. In fact The Stones are lurking in the DNA of Stories To Tell as the acoustic rocker of ‘Behind The Wheel’ will testify.

With a title track being a mid paced mid day rocker stretching itself out building to the chorus its just classic Hangmen and if you get it you’ll dig it and admire their class. Its a very impressive album with variety and moments left right and centre that purr with quality from the rockin opener to the almost baladlike ‘Runnin Kind’ that brings the curtain down on this excellent album. Don’t take my word for it. Head out there and pick up a copy or if you’re modern and like to stream then get on and pre save it so you can also marvel in the majesty that is the most excellent Hangmen. Winner!

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Author: Dom Daley