ALBUM REVIEW: NO MURDER NO MOUSTACHE – ‘The Odds Are Stacked Against’ (2021)

Pync Roc efo dylanwadau Celtaidd. Weithiau acwstig, weithiau ddim, wastad pync.

One man Welsh Punk Rock with Celtic influences. Sometimes acoustic, sometimes not, always Punk

The Odds Are Stacked Against is the second release from Welsh one man band Owen Crawford in the guise of No Murder No Moustache. It seems to be the trend these days that any wishy-washy drip of a student armed with an acoustic guitar gives themselves a grandiose name with a bit of edge (to make up for the music having none I suppose) and a place at a local NHS benefit gig is assured! No Murder No Moustache hail from the Welsh capital Cardiff and don’t play wishy-washy music. This is what I think generally passes ‘Folk-Punk’ these days. Go to any Ferocious Dog gig and they will have something not a million miles away as support. The lyrics are nearly all politically driven with not even a single drinking song. Though their is one sung in Welsh so maybe that’s it? It’s not all po-faced and serious though and the music is upbeat and dare I even say jolly.

Their debut release came out in the Summer of last year and ‘Hold My Beer’ was a welcome release at a time when the Celtic-Punk scene had become a near desert! The title track would eventually go on to win 2020 track of the year on the HRH radio Punk show. Since then a bunch of singles have followed, including a couple of Christmas themed ones that are available for free download on the No Murder No Moustache Bandcamp site. (link below) all in much the same vein. The Odds Are Stacked Against is a collection of seven songs of ‘punkishness’ played on fiddle, ukulele, accordion and banjo but with a strong Folk influence. While the ‘Celtic’ touches here are not quite as prevalent as on Hold My Beer their are several moments where it does come to the fore.

The EP kicks off with the title track ‘The Odds Are Stacked Against’ and starts with some nicely placed news dialogue before speeding off into Celtic-Pop-Punk territory. Upbeat, fist in the air music to jig around to as Owen sings about the dispossessed. If I had one criticism it would be that it lacks a bit of oomph. The mix is a wee bit quiet and while Owen’s voice is as powerful and as clear as a bell (no need for a lyric sheet here) the guitar could have done with beefing up a bit. ‘Sing! Fight! Run! Survive!’ is pure Celtic-Punk. Fast and fun (think Black Water County) and with a bit to skank along to too or even “beat up the floor” as BWC call it. This is the only song where Owen is accompanied by anyone else with Chris Hopkins stepping in on bass. ‘Since The War Started’ is a slow ballad. The sort that you might hear from the New Model Army or Alarm. The song does get louder later on as Owen delivers an anti-war ballad either of those mentioned would be proud of. ‘A Million Whispers’ takes us back to fast’n’fun and they manage to pack quite a punch in just forty-four seconds. The last three tracks here are my favourite beginning with ‘Let The Anger Into Your Heart’, one of the more Celtic sounding numbers with great use of the ukulele, a much much maligned and under-rated instrument, especially in Celtic-Punk. My favourite song here is ‘Sut Tyfodd Y Gath Mor Dew?’ which according to the translate button is ‘How Did The Cat Grow So Fat?’ in Owen’s native Welsh language. I never tire of hearing Punk sing in Welsh. A love that first began when I heard Punk-Rock legends Anhrefn on Snub TV back in the late 80’s. Accompanied by a bunch of mates on backing vocals it does sound remarkably like Black Water County which is to Owen’s credit rather than any criticism. The EP comes to an end with ‘Feels Like Home’ and a mish-mash of influences soon comes together in a call to arms but done in that style of No Murder No Moustache with Owen sounding an awful lot like Justin Keenan of Aussie Celt-rockers The Go Set. 

The EP is released on Smash Mouse Records, a collective based DIY label based in Cardiff, Wales. The seven songs run in at just under seventeen minutes so as you can imagine things rattle along at a fine auld speed with most songs around the two minute mark and Owen is certainly a very talented musician. A great release with my only quibble being that it lacks a little in the mix. With words and music like this it needs to have a big background and sometimes that is lacking. Music like this is best heard in the pub and it is notoriously hard to transfer that sound or feeling onto disc and with No Murder No Moustache being a one man band I can imagine it’s even harder. Still this shows Owen’s sound developing and I look forward to hearing more from him soon. 

Download The Odds Are Stacked Against SmashMouseRecords (CD/ Download)
Contact No Murder No Moustache  WebSite  Facebook  Spotify  YouTube  Bandcamp

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