Review: Haggard Cat – Common Sense Holiday

Haggard Cat. You like them, don’t you? Sure you do. If you’re browsing these pages through choice then of course you like Haggard Cat.

Riffs, punk, clattering drums and some more riffs – talk about an open goal.

Now, while you already like Haggard Cat, you’re about to love them. Why? Because their new, second, record Common Sense Holiday is an all-out riotous rock and roll banger.

Let’s be clear right away: this album is still full of riffs, punk, clattering drums and yet more riffs.

But it also shows what massive progress this two-piece have made since their critically acclaimed debut album Challenger from 2017. Three years spent on the road has given this band a delicious identity and birthed an album that is fantastic from start to finish.

If you’ve seen Haggard Cat in the last year – which, if you’re anything like us, you definitely have – the first two songs on this one will be familiar.

‘First Words’ is packed full of swagger and stomp, and will have you moshing in agreement, while the chorus of ‘European Hardware’ won’t be leaving your head any time soon once you’ve it.

Two for two and it doesn’t stop there. ‘Human Animal’ is filthy and catchy as hell, ‘Show Reel’ has more groove than a duo should realistically be able to create, and ‘Rational’ is a slow-burning stunner that shows Haggard Cat are more than just chaos.

The big tunes just keep coming. ‘Time’ is toe-tappingly funky before a staggeringly good ending that just stays on the right side of falling apart. Likewise ‘Threads’, which sounds like the British cousins of ’68 being let loose to rock.

‘The Natives’ has a tonne of Britpop laced throughout but blended with a 2020 filter, ‘Cheat’ has organs and a saxophone solo and still slams, ‘Pearl’ is a full-on rager, and finale ‘Ghosts Already’ rounds things off with swing and style.

In many ways, this is exactly what most people would from the second Haggard Cat record. And yet it is so flipping good that it matches those expectations and then simply leaves them trailing in its dust.

What is most impressive here is how Haggard Cat have really embraced the fact that they are a two-piece. Guitars and drums are locked in throughout these eleven songs and the result is a tight record that they’ll actually be able to recreate live.

Common Sense Holiday is raw, raucous and lairy as heck – pun not intended – and it deserves to be played at loud volumes everywhere.

Like I said a few paragraphs back, you’re going to love it.

Common Sense Holiday will be released on 13th March on Earache Records.

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Dave Musson
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