Monday, December 19, 2022

Sandra’s Wedding Are Back And Are Pulling No Punches

Life is tough for everyone at the moment. You only have to flick on the news to see a daily stream of depressing price hikes and austerity narratives to see that people are struggling. Yet, in working-class communities, especially across the North of England, this is nothing new. 

Hailing from Goole, a small port town on the east coast of Yorkshire, Sandra’s Wedding have been singing about the north’s forgotten heritage for over half a decade. Their debut album, the impassioned ‘Northern Powerhouse’, was a superb articulation of the erosive psychological impact living in one of the country's many forgotten areas can have. 

Now, as the walls close in again on people who have little more to give, the band are back with their inflamed new single ‘One Horse Town’.  

Opening with brooding, dark strokes from guitarist Johnny Hughes and a pounding beat from drummer Luke Harrison, the scene is immediately set – the band mean business. Joe Hodgson’s trademark sultry vocals soon accompany the pair as the song follows a time-tested formula for the band. “Rain smudge the kiss the mother sends” he sings, in one of the more abstractly poignant lines on the track as he sums up the futility of working-class life. 

A wailing guitar sole splits the five-minute song in half, where the anger and pain can be felt in the screeching blues riffs that Hughes produces in what can best be described as a sonic ode to Slash. 

One Horse Town’ turns subtle in the follow-up to Hughes’ lambastic attack with his six strings. Hodgson is joined by a subtle piano as he reels off some of his more direct lines on the hardships of life. “Another round of layoffs / What’s a man to do?” he bemoans. It’s typically Yorkshire of the man to not stick to subtlety for long in his lyrics, but the directness is one of the aspects that make Sandra’s Wedding so earnest and likeable. 

It all leads to a crescendo of a festival-friendly sing-along, allowing the song to end with a glint of aspiration. 

What the band do on this track may not be inventing the wheel, it’s a gritty song about a gritty life. Yet, in today’s current climate it feels ever more important. We need bands like Sandra’s Wedding, to give us hope more than anything. 

James Ogden 

Image: ‘One Horse Town’ Official Single Cover 

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