Möngöl Hörde - Möngöl Hörde Review
Posted by Daniel Wilcox on 06.11.2014
Frank Turner returns to his hardcore roots with the self-titled debut record from side project Möngöl Hörde. Frequent collaborators Ben Dawson and Matt Nasir are in tow, but is it a worthwhile venture?
Möngöl Hörde is:
Frank Turner – vocals
Matt Nasir – guitar
Ben Dawson – drums
Möngöl Hörde – Möngöl Hörde
1. Make Way
2. Weighed and Found Wanting
3. Tapeworm Uprising
4. Casual Threats From Weekend Hardmen
5. Staff to the Refund Counter
6. The Yurt Locker
7. Stillborn Unicorn
8. Winky Face: The Mark of a Moron
9. Weak Handshake
10. Your Problem
11. How the Communists Ruined Christmas
12. Blistering Blue Barnacles
13. Hey Judas
Running time: 35:23
Möngöl Hörde is the latest project to spawn from the brilliant mind of Frank Turner and friends. Turner is best known for his solo folk punk project that has spawned five wonderful albums and caused his once-cult following to grow to the point that Turner is a regular chart-topper and always in high demand when touring and gracing festival stages. In 2014, Turner and his band the Sleeping Souls proved that their intimate sound can work in arena-sized venues as they toured in support of 2013's Tape Deck Heart. But long-time fans of the Hampshire-born singer-songwriter will know that Turner's musical origins are entrenched in the hardcore scene and more specifically in his old band Million Dead. The Möngöl Hörde project sees Turner dip his toes into such waters once more and as such will be a treat for those that have followed Frank's career since those early days.
Indeed, many fans will be familiar with the collaborators on this particular project. Ben Dawson worked with Frank notably in Million Dead but also in bands prior to that. Despite the well-documented messy break up of Million Dead, Dawson and Turner come back together to bring us Möngöl Hörde alongside Matt Nasir. Nasir is a member of Turner's current backing band the Sleeping Souls and as such is used to touring and collaborating with the enigmatic singer. While the future of this particular outfit is somewhat up in the air, Turner has hinted in recent interviews that this self-titled debut record could well be the band's first and last, and that the tour upon which the band are about to embark could well be the only one. Frank's solo career is booming, and with album number six all but confirmed for a February 2015 release, this may be a project that we only get to enjoy for a short period of time.
But enjoy it we shall. Möngöl Hörde is a far cry from Turner's solo work. The man himself described it as “depraved” and that's a fitting label. Lyrically it's much more tongue in cheek, at points it's quite venomous but you get the impression that Frank is merely having fun with this one and that makes the record all the more enjoyable for the listener. After the minute-long baffler “Winky Face: The Mark of a Moron,” Turner gives up any and all use of subtly to proclaim, “basically, if you can't make your meaning plain with all the richness of the English language and you have to resort to cartoon faces made with punctuation marks, you're a dick.” Truer words may never have been spoken. Even when handling a genre much further from the mainstream zeitgeist then we're used to hearing from Turner, the man manages to maintain his image of an everyman who you can't help but like. That is not only the power of insightful and witty lyrical choices, but also the result of the passion with which he delivers each and every syllable.
Released last week on Xtra Mile Recordings, Möngöl Hörde is a record that succeeds for two simple reasons. Firstly, it does not take itself all too seriously. Secondly, the three men at the helm are very damn good at what they do. Typically most of the coverage will focus around Turner, arguably for good reasons, both both Dawson on drums and Nasir on guitar come into their own here and breath life into a stale genre with a frantic and high-octane style brimming with confidence and swagger. In order to illustrate the first point, I present you “Tapeworm Uprising.” The track has been floating around for a good while now so fans will be aware of the subject matter. It's about a tapeworm emerging from Natalie Portman's asshole and using her as a puppet to conquer Hollywood, ergo “Tapeworm Uprising.” But silliness aside, it's one of many brilliantly tragic tracks.
If you're a major fan of Turner's folk work, you may not find too much to hold your attention here in a musical sense. But the one aspect of Turner's solo work that seems to present in all of his work is his dry and relentlessly accurate social commentary. His disdain for smilies reminds of his gloriously blunt ode to rock stars on “Try This at Home” from the record Poetry of the Deed. “There's no such thing as rock stars / There's just people who play music / Some of them are just like us / And some of them are dicks.” Frank Turner's been called a “dick” himself once or twice because he's opinionated. But the man talks sense, and the man writes and sings songs that stand for something. And while Möngöl Hörde isn't necessarily touching on the most important of subjects, it's delivered with an inspirational passion that has become the man's trademark.
Möngöl Hörde – “Casual Threats From Weekend Hardmen”
The 411: Möngöl Hörde is an essential record fans of the hardcore genre, even if it may not be essential for your more traditional Frank Turner fan. Turner, Nasir and Dawson have let their personalities seep through this record and it's all the better for it. And barely 35-minutes, the album is an utter breeze to listen to and there are few better ways to kill half an hour than with a gem like this. There will be comparisons to Million Dead, some quite accurate and some just lazy, but Möngöl Hörde is an everyman's record if you're a fan of the punk or hardcore genres. On a personal level, I don't think I'd want Frank Turner to give up his day job to make this a full time project, and it's very unlikely that that would ever be the case, but if he can find time in his always-packed schedule to produce thought-provoking and mind-bending offerings like this one, well, that's no bad thing. For fans of Million Dead, Refused, Future of the Left.