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Holy Moly and the Crackers - Salem (Pink Lane Records)

There's little doubt that Holy Moly and the Crackers are one of the most vibrant live outfits in the country today, a band whose individual members attract your immediate attention, making it difficult for you to take your eyes off any one of them. There's the charismatic frontman Conrad Bird, whose towering personality betrays his diminutive frame, a passionate performer with all the theatrical prowess of a seasoned Thespian. Then there's Ruth Patterson, the perfect foil for Conrad, whose radiance could be compared with that of a 1940s Hollywood movie starlet. Their chemistry is tangible. If this was not enough, then there’s always the supporting cast whose stage antics divert your attention from the main protagonists momentarily; Rosie Bristow stage right, her bohemian accordion aflame, Martha Wheatley stage left, her soaring trombone pointed directly at the audience, both musicians fully immersed in dance as they entertain. 

This highly engaging band from the North East, presents some of that live magic here on SALEM, their second full length album, with one or two songs that have been hanging around their live repertoire for some time now. There's the sultry Sugar, with its crackly retro intro and Conrad’s growly, almost lecherous delivery. Then the rockabilly of the punchy Cold Comfort Lane, with its sneering guitar riff commanding your attention, followed immediately by a taste of the Deep South on Hallelujah Amen, a slice of swamp gospel which would ring in your ears after each show, now finally available to take home with you.

Difficult to categorise, Holy Moly and the Crackers weave several musical genres into an exhilarating tapestry all their own, one minute very much gypsy folk influenced, the next a thoroughly absorbing country gospel soul, with plenty of attitude punched in, a sense of the burlesque injected into everything the band play. Holy Moly are a band that most festivals should be placing at the top of the bill if only the regulars would step aside. Listen to this, then see them at your earliest convenience, you will not be disappointed.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky