The Zen Hussies crack out bon mots for The Charm Account

Charm AccountTo release an album of dance songs without using any electric bass is monstrously perverse in this era. But then The Zen Hussies are, thank goodness. Their long awaited fourth album The Charm Account is now mincing down Bristol boulevards like a parched bootlegger and The Hussies are about to embark on a whistle stop tour to the cities of South West England they haven’t yet been barred from yet. The Zen Hussies are very much a Bristol Institution. And since Bristol is a city of intense foreign influence and history, The Zen Hussies naturally, are a Bristol Institution comprising an astonishing blend of the intimately British and what has come to be known “as imported culture." The Absurd sitting snugly next to the blues, which schmoozes with a big mariachi band sound and the overall effect thus far has been quite ludicrously entertaining.

The Charm Account is being billed as The Hussies most political effort yet. So while none of the inimitable swing and bounce of Kecker Rocker has been purged in place of Billy Bragg covers on Charm, the written material does range from songs about government corruption to wanton consumerism among the Sandwich Meat Class. Indeed, having a release date for the album so close to Christmas is almost a sick dare by The Hussies to their fans to buy as much Hussies gear as they can, whilst the album name itself advertises how easily The Hussies themselves can go for a night out at the expense of nothing but their bon mots.

The album itself plays like a soundtrack to a surreal Peaky Blinders episode; full of playful, suggestive noodling and woozy, smoking brass all underpinned by wonderfully subtle drumming. The songs are textured complexly, ska rhythms often hold down something freer and soulful on the harmonica and then are replaced by something skiffle like themselves. Sounds often feel recycled or purposely chosen because they’re close to well known hooks, in order to trick you into thinking you’ve identified something and then lead you away. The effect is intensely likeable; personal songs that make you want to viscerally play, to kick back and dance long into the night.

The Charm Account is as close to a Christmas album as The Hussies will make. Enlightened songs about drinking, encouraging you to drink and steal some rum for the sake of you and your neighbour. A wonderful Yuletide offering.

Release: 5th November 2015, Self-release

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