‘Darkly comic and melodic little songs for your horror and amusement’ In 2010, after 5 years writhing and screaming in cabaret/rock band Hooverville, Joey Herzfeld strapped on an accordion and gathered together an impressive array of so-called friends to deliver his nasty but melodic little ditties with a more acoustic lineup. ‘..Are Watching You’ is their debut album, a collection of dark and funny tales of hangings, heartbreak, stalkers and lechers all interspersed with foot-stomping instrumentals.
Highlights include "Great Again", the story of a failed writer with lofty intentions stalking a famous novelist, "Maggie Dickson", where a woman somehow survives hanging, then sets up a thriving pub overlooking the gallows, and "Cracks", a surprisingly swinging take on modern hermitism whose apocalyptic finale gives the band full licence to let rip.
Joey has long been something of an anomaly in the North London music scene, honing traditional song-craft while playing with more experimental musicians. So here amidst the rye banjo licks and folk fiddle we find the best and brightest of the Stoke Newington / Walthamstow avant garde.
There are cheery clarinet tootlings from Alex Ward, best known for his boundary shredding free improv and noise rock, anchored double bass and keys from Santiago Horro and Luke Barlow, both members of ear-melting math rock band Nought, and springy drums from Jem Doulton of the Thurston Moore Band and Roisin Murphy.
All of the above have been playing challenging and unpredictable music together for years in every conceivable combination, but here rub shoulders with players from more grounded folk traditions. So, if pithy twisted storytelling accompanied by a circus of wheezing accordion, twanging banjo, gypsy fiddle, wailing clarinet plus an occasional smattering of surf guitar, toy piano, spooky organ, musical saw, glockenspiel, mandolin, ukulele, scronking sax, scrap metal and cutlery (breathe..) intrigues your musical palate, please take a seat at the ringside..
‘Their extraordinarily different sound, great musicianship and stage presence alienated half the crowd and transfixed the rest. Were they mental or brave musical pioneers?’ The Londonist
‘Circus sideshow malarkey’ Drowned in Sound
‘Intriguing fare’ NME
1. Great Again
4. Half -Hanged Maggie Dickson
5. Girl Won't You Dance?
6. Charge of the Centipedes
7. Life in the city
8. Secret Admirer
13. End of the Set