STRING UP THE ENTERTAINER (EP) – FELIX HAGAN & THE FAMILY
When you get older, it’s easy to get stuck in your ways. That’s a sad truth, and no matter how hard you might fight it, it’s always there. It particularly applies to music. Gone are the days of me being blown away by a new band each month, having my whole view of music jilted on its axis by some unassuming piece of plastic or vinyl creeping into my stereo. Such is life.
But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t, occasionally, still happen. A while back I got an email, unsolicited as such, from one Felix Hagan, asking me to check out some of his music. Big whoop – this happens to me most days of the week, and when I do have time to check stuff out, it’s usually OK, passable, good even, but doesn’t grab me by the collar and demand my attention. This was different. I genuinely couldn’t decide whether I loved or hated what I was hearing. It was massively outside my own musical comfort zone – the mile-wide theatrical streak made me think of my own bete noir, musicals (urgh), the stylised nature of the whole thing was a long way from the punk rock or outlaw country that I feel comfortable around.
And yet I couldnt’ stop watching the video, and listening to other songs, and marvelling over the songwriting, the arrangement, the sharp-as-a-tack lyrics, the toe-tapping beats, the infectious melodies. In the end I decided I had to go see Felix and his band, The Family, play a show. Within about 30 seconds of them taking the stage, I was sold, a total convert, a newly-signed-up member of the cult.
“String Up The Entertainer” is the new EP from Felix Hagan & The Family. It encapsulates everything I like about them. It’s original, it’s clever, it tiptoes along the line between kitsch and parody and successfully skips past both into excellence by way of its sheer, unashamed, joie de vivre. There’s just enough tongue in their cheek (and in their kisses) to subvert their natural enemies and win over even cynical old punks like me.
Or to put it considerably less pretentiously, I really like this record, and I think you will too. Next everything else new I’ve heard lately, this is a total breath of fresh air.