Blue collar laments and sad-sack anger isn’t the hippest thing going in music right now but Parting Gifts don’t pretend it is on this, a record of sprawled, sloppy-hearted bar-rock. Instead they scrape up the best snippets lying around the studio and string them together into a 15 track LP that lasts a quick 35 minutes and tries on creaky, ‘Exile’-era Stones and Brit-traditionalists Mekons and The Pogues in equal loving measure, the songs encompassing down-and-out tales, mainly about screwing up or screwing other women. The basic ingredient is Depression-era bounce, like Cash’s trademark boom-chicka train chug percussion, plus frontman Greg Cartwright’s gritted-teeth groan. Irreverent, slap-dashed and looking for trouble, ‘Strychnine Dandelion’ is the modern record that motorbike-riding uncles have been searching for.

By Luke Winkie

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