TANKUS THE HENGE – ALBUM REVIEW

Tankus the Henge – I Crave Affection Baby,

Tankus the Henge - 
I Crave Affection Baby, But Not When I Drive
But Not When I Drive

Release Date: 29th November 2018

Everyone has that mate that doesn’t come from the same group as all their other friends. Maybe you know them through your family or you worked with them or went out with their brother or something but whatever the source of the friendship, you always have an amazing time with them. Now, the day comes when you’re ready to introduce them to the rest of your friends and you are, understandably, nervous of the reaction. Tankus the Henge are that outsider mate who knows a different side of you but it’s time to bring your two worlds together and see if they collide or merge. Are you ready? Right, “Everyone, this is my mate Tankus that I’ve told you all about….”.

Tankus the Henge don’t really have a location, they’re a nomadic troupe and that colours everything they do but the opening of album opening ‘Electric Eyes’ is disarmingly rocky with its feet in the 90s Britrock arena before settling in to a more expansive pattern. This is the first (but not last) hint of classic British song writing as we are treated to the kind of song that Squeeze would be applauded for but with added oomph, for want of a better word. New single ‘Things Were Better Before’ is a lament that takes in the likes of Blur at their most despairing and tells of a world that has lost its sheen, glimmer and optimism (before you switch off, however, this is a very un-Tankus world so stick with it).

Proceedings kick up a fair few notches on live favourite ‘Last Night in New Orleans’ as the marvellously monikerred frontman Jaz Delorean takes to his role as story telling showman like a Tory takes to lying and backstabbing. The heady mixture of furious guitars, snaking clarinet, carnival horns and bone rattling piano would not be out of place in a musical or Disney cartoon such is the energy, joie de vivre and underlying pathos of this wonderfully weaved story. The rock guitars and horn section that herald ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ take the pomp of a Robbie Williams show and mangle it through Ian Dury and the Blockheads song writing to create something deliciously moreish and eminently danceable. ‘Shoeshine’ slows things down a bit to give you a chance to catch your breath before another live favourite, ‘Weather’, moves back in the direction of vaudeville with dissonant horns and distant ivories being tinkled before Delorean. This music exists in the space between Gogol Bordello’s gypsy punk, Motown funk and the story telling of Europeans finding their way through the glamour-starved backwaters of the early USA.

Tankus the Henge
On ‘Onomatology’ (the study of the forming of proper names, thanks Google), the band take things down to a darker, more mischievous place with Psycho stabbing guitars and reverb laden vocals making this a Gilliam-esque nightmare sequence with undertones of the Good, the Bad and the Queen. ‘Floodwater’ is a sexy, slinky little number that will have crowds swooning over the oft deshirted Delorean while ‘Slippin’ and Slidin’’ more than makes up in raw sex appeal what it lacks in the letter ‘g’. The Tijuana trumpet that opens ‘Rotten Boots Tango’ is just gorgeous but paired with Delorean’s vocal performance akin to the theatrical bastard offspring of Chas’n’Dave this song transcends mere description (it also has the best use of castanets I’ve heard in a long time). Approaching the end, ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ bobs and sways like a band ready for their appearance on Later with Jools Holland but, more importantly, a band that has toured, gigged and festivaled so hard that it has refined its sound to the point that they can concentrate on the performance rather than just the playing.

As any Tankus the Henge fan will know, no set is complete without their signature track which is perfectly placed, cherry-like, atop this sumptuous cake. ‘You Can Do Anything’ is the theme song for the devil on your shoulder telling you that you can stop worrying about conforming and give up the ruddy day job. Twirling a cane and with a rakish glint in the eye, this track is Bugsy Malone all grown up and living his best life with just enough money for one more drink and just enough energy for one more dance. This is a late play for album of the year but a strong one and I can only urge you to take Tankus the Henge to heart, hold them close to your bosom, love them and then introduce them to all your friends. You won’t regret it.


Live Dates:

29th November – Album Launch @ 100 Club, London (SOLD OUT)
30th November – The Beehive, Honiton
1st December – Madness House of Fun Weekender @ Butlins, Minehead w/Madness
7th December – Chapel Arts, Bath
8th December – Meadowbrook, Dartington
14th December – Pavilions, Plymouth w/Land of the Giants
31st December – The Cow, Isle of Wight
1st-4th February – In Cider Festival, Weston-Super-Mare
20th February – The Greystones, Sheffield
21st February – Lending Rooms, Leeds
23rd February – St Mary’s Hall Appledore, Bideford

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