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The Margaret Hooligans - Royal Octopus Canal (Piety Street Publishing)

29 February 2024

Here’s one for you. What do you get if you cross an electric ukulele-playing vocalist with a drummer who favours playing both teapot and kit? You get a wonderfully riotous, sonically rebellious, raw and ragged duo called The Margaret Hooligans. And that is just the adjectives that begin with the letter R!

With many bands, you can draw a line that connects them back to specific musical references, sounds or styles. With The Margaret Hooligans, the best that you can do is nod vaguely in the direction of looser concepts – punk and garage rock, DIY music and even non-musical drives such as concepts of noise-art and the subversive ethos of dada-ism (question everything, trust nothing, ridicule what has gone before). I’m not saying that “Royal Octopus Canal,” their latest single, is deliberately ridiculing the sonic landscape but, it is undoubtedly riding roughshod over it, going against fad and fashion, sailing into the winds of the current zeitgeist and blowing holes in listeners’ expectations. And just how dada is that title?

Many argue that a song like this, in particular, and a band like The Margaret Hooligans, in general, isn’t punk. And in purely sonic terms, that might be true. But punk was never built for longevity; it was never a musical scene; it was better than that. If punk was a flash point, an explosion of change and subversiveness, a call to arms and a statement of intent, then indeed it is the attitude, rather than the sound it made, that was the critical part. And it is a similar devotion to raw rebellion, musical belligerence, rule-breaking, and uniqueness make this band and this song so brilliant.

I don’t know what it is; I know I need more of it.