Music Review: ‘Dangerous Dogs’
‘Dangerous Dogs’, by Stern John (Off Records. 2017)
A polemical and at times whimsical album of nine tracks from a latter-day Billy Bragg, with acoustic guitar at the ready. There also are echoes of the wry social commentary of bands who have stood outside the mainstream over the years like The Declan Swans and it is clear that Stern John has his proverbial ear to the ground when it comes to spotting social developments and pricking prevailing attitudes.
Stronger vocally than musically in the main, the first and last tracks – ‘The Tipping Point’ and ‘Rope’ seem to be the most overtly political and driven by a passion for things to change. ‘Rope’ is easily the stand-out track and deserves a wider audience, both for its lyrics and melody. It recognises the power of collective thought and action and forms a metaphoric call to arms for those who question the system – ‘tiny strands can make a rope, once bound together they can’t be broke, when we’re united there’s more hope . . . tiny strands can make a rope’.