Tankus the Henge – Luna Park 

Release Date: 4th December 2020

When you take a band, nay, a beast like Tankus the Henge and remove it from its natural habitat then you can expect it to adapt and evolve or sulk and die. Happily for us, Tankus the Henge have taken the opportunity of an enforced break from the live scene to hunker down in Wales and record something of a concept album. And before you go groaning off about concept albums, remember that Tankus the Henge are masters of bringing performance and magic to everything they touch so leave your preconceptions at the door and let’s get down with ‘Luna Park’, shall we?

The album opens with recent single ‘God Oil Money’ which is the perfect show starter in the big-top of everything that is wrong with the world set to Sergeant Peppers meets Ian Dury manic melodies. By contrast, ‘Fayway’ has a 60s beat-pop energy that really carries the album forwards from that big opening and on to the main business at hand via some darkly mischievous tones that hint at what is to come. The sombre beginnings of ‘Glitterlung’ belie the fact that this is a key moment on the album as Jaz Delorean’s vocal cracks at the edges while he sings a tale of broken stoicism and disillusionment with the world around him, showing the jaded edges and mascara stained teardrops. The show must go on, you see.

The wonderful thing about Tankus the Henge is that they are an ensemble with a leader and that is something that shines through on ‘Back To You’ which starts as a lament between Delorean and his beloved piano before emerging in to something of orchestral slow jam. On ‘Susie Sidewinder’ the band fully embrace their theatrical side with a tune that could slot in to a postmodern version of Aladdin while ‘Sundance Kid’ straps on a big ol’ bag of funk and uses that horn section like a thirsty man uses a bottle of whisky. There’s a more soul-pop vibe to ‘(Livin’ Like a) Pilgrim’ but the chorus brings in some dirty bass notes and you are left yearning for those long summer nights dancing in a field to music like this.

As always, Tankus the Henge have a penchant for old school vibes and the jazzy piano bar vibes of ‘Worries’ make you want to smoke a discarded cigarette while you lazily push a broom around a recently abandoned speakeasy. ‘The Only Thing That Passes Here Is Time’ continues with the jazzy feel as Delorean sings his smoothly hypnotic siren song and you find your hips swaying completely independent of the rest of your body. Following on a reprise of the pivotal ‘Glitterlung’, comes the title track, ‘Luna Park’, which is a real stomper that rattles along at breakneck pace as we near the chequered flag of this particular wacky race.

This odyssey closes out on ‘Staying On This Side of the Dirt’ which manages to bring to mind Ian Dury, Chas and Dave and the theme from ‘Minder’ without losing any of the shine of the rest of the album. The concept here is that the band have left behind a city without music venues for the utopian promise of Luna Park where they can live the good life surrounded by music and good people. That’s the story but it’s told with lines like “We’re not gonna pay any bills, we lost it all in William Hills” and that, as well as some outstanding musicianship, is what makes Tankus the Henge so bloody great. 

More information: https://www.facebook.com/tankusthehenge