Sarah Shout Louder has been banging on to me for ages about how good Misgivings debut album Hermitage is. She's often right about this kind of thing so as soon as I found a bit of time to give it a proper listen I made myself comfortable and prepared to be thoroughly impressed. Misgivings are a four piece band from Portsmouth who are described as "combining the hooks of The Flatliners and the rasp of Leatherface with the gut wrenching power of Iron Chic." This is definitely something I know I will enjoy. Hermitage is released on the 7th of December through Lockjaw Records, a label that guitarist Will Pearce worked with last year on his other band Sombulance's release, Lifer.
Hermitage begins with the song Call It Off which Misgivings also made a fantastic video for. Given the description for Misgivings’ sound, it was no surprise that I wanted to throw my fists up and shout along straight away. The way in which every line is delivered makes singing along passionately so inviting. The Artless Life is about what it would be like if the world didn't have free thinkers who take risks to create things. There's a poppier feeling to the track which has plenty of great hooks. There is a hint of Bangers or even noughties punk rockers Fletcher in the song. Those are two bands we love at CPRW towers and it's always nice to hear that sound.
Shameless grabs your attention quickly with the lyrics "when you get up in the morning, I'll be drinking through the night with a poor excuse." The song speaks about needing to sort yourself out but not being quite able to do so. The song uses the example of drinking too much to make its point, particularly being too tired and hung over from the night before to follow through with plans. The fourth track, On Your Tongue, feels like it has a darker tone than the previous songs on Hermitage. It also feels as if the vocals are delivered in a more passionate and urgent manner to really help drive the point home. I enjoyed the subtle harmonies that occur throughout the song, adding a nice little layer, giving the song a more rounded sound.
The New Lows has more of a punchy, stabby musical style with the vocals providing a large chunk of the melody. The chorus is one of the catchiest on Hermitage with the lines "the new lows, new numbers to fear" quickly finding a spot to make a home for itself in your brain. Johnny Come Late is about feeling jaded and bored with your life and not doing the things you love. The chorus on this track is the best on the album – "be a friend to all you see, be the mend to broken trees, even when the tough times call for tough endeavours, I bet I would do it if I was free, if I wasn't tired and salty, if I never fouled this bastard fucking country." This chorus sums up the entire song so perfectly.
Ironically the penultimate song on Hermitage is titled The Last Word. The pounding drum beat and a jangly guitar riff immediately fills the song with energy and when the vocals hit you're itching to sing-along with Misgivings. I preferred this higher tempo style of Misgivings sound, I love when a song fills me with energy – it's why I listen to music. The track uses more harmonies and gang vocals than any other on the album and this adds so much to the song, it makes it sound so much bigger. The final track on Hermitage is I Keep Hoarding Up and it is one of the strongest song on the album. It's about hiding yourself away from the world, keeping clear of the good times and the bad and just being by yourself. It feels like a final song in that it's very vocal heavy, making you listen intently and really take notice. It's one last big sing-along to finish the album.
Hermitage by Misgivings is a good record full of powerful heart on your sleeve punk rock. If you're a fan of bands like Polar Bear Club, The Burnt Tapes or The Loved Ones then this is probably something you need to be checking out. I can see why Sarah Shout Louder is so excited by this release.
Pre-order Hermitage from Lockjaw Records here: https://lockjawrecords.co.uk/shop/misgivings-hermitage/
Like Misgivings here: https://www.facebook.com/misgivingsband/
This review was written by Colin Clark.