Take A Bite, the third album from Holy Moly and The Crackers, arrives eight years after they formed in Newcastle as a self-confessed ‘ragtag folk band’.
Having grown from the three core members to first a quartet and now a six-piece, it’s a thrilling reminder of how good music can be when it’s delivered with passion and conviction.
Folk still lies at the heart of what Holy Moly do, but don’t let that put you off. Their infectious, groove-laden sound also contains elements of jazz and funk, rock ‘n’ soul and gypsy-punk (think Gogol Bordello).
This is a group which is very much the sum of its parts, and Ruth Patterson shares vocal duties with Conrad Bird, who also contributes guitar and trumpet, while Rosie Bristow is also prominent on accordion.
They’ve added some oomph since their early days with the addition of guitar, bass and drums, giving them a much rockier sound, but the folk influences remain, and it’s an addictive brew.
It's an unusual record, in that it was recorded live, a song at a time, rather than adding instrument by instrument, and the result is a fresh, lively feeling.
Euphoric lead single All I Got Is You grabs you by the lapels from the start, and demands that you listen, as Ruth Patterson’s gorgeous voice soars and swoops.
Next up is Upside Down, another swashbuckling song, where Patterson lets loose with some violin
Kiss Me Before You Go sees the co-vocalists trade lines, all set over an addictive eastern-influenced beat which would make the dead want to dance.
Despite the gems that have gone before, Naked In Budapest, another Bohemian-flavoured song, is perhaps the standout track of the set.
Bird’s gruff vocals remind me (in a good way) of Boney M, and the refrain of “we’re not going home” will be stuck in your head for days.
This is an album that anyone who loves good music should add to their collection.
Don’t just take my word for it though: buy it, and then try to see Holy Moly live, where they’ll truly blow your socks off. 8/10.