Four Letter Word - An Invitation to a Hanging (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Four Letter Word

An Invitation to a Hanging (2010)

Newest Industry

A brief bit of history here. Four Letter Word have had a lengthy "career," put out a number of albums including one on the BYO label, been the target of a legal battle against BYO by an American boy band claiming rights to the band name, been through band members too numerous to mention (and remember) and are still going today in 2010, one year short of their 20th anniversary. At the helm of this unsinkable ship is Welly, long-time frontman, promoter and man behind Artcore, a longstanding fanzine that looks back as much as it looks forward.

With an album out towards the tail end of 2009, this free download EP comes as a nice surprise. Brought out at the time of the 2010 UK Election, the artwork (Welly's own handiwork) features the then-three main candidates for the role of Prime Minister all hanging from nooses...hence the title.

Four Letter Word have always turned their heads (and ears) towards the United States of America in terms of their sound without coming off as total Yankophiles and they have managed to produce a sound that is unashamedly American in its basic elements but still retaining a strong UK feel. Since their conception, Four Letter Word have always taken a stand against the leaders of both the UK and the USA, with bitter indignation at policies, actions and decisions taken by a variety of these partners in crime.

The target of this EP is undoubtedly the UK government, given the time of its release and all the songs covering the mismanagement of the country regardless of who has been in power. What is evident here is that Welly's lyrics are still as angry as they have always been and it's good to see that some bands still take up the fight against injustices, hypocrisy and general government "mismanagement."

The four tracks include a cover of Billy Bragg's "To Have and Have Not," with Welly even managing to sound a little bit like the venerable man of the left at times. This is a very good EP with all of the songs having a strong message backed by tuneful and aggressive music. Note that Four Letter Word are also a formidable live band, with Welly prowling the audience like a caged animal, full of anger and a need to escape his confines.

Given that the EP is free to download, it's a no-brainer for those with a bent towards political punk to snap this up. If Four Letter Word are new to you then it could easily send you seeking out their back catalogue, a worthwhile experience.