Album Reviews

Album Review: Ham Sandwich – White Fox

Ham Sandwich – White Fox

As soon as you hear the opening verse of ‘The Naturist’, the lead single, and opening track from Ham Sandwich’s second album, White Fox, you know they’ve grown. This is a better band than the Meath five-piece who released Carry the Meek in 2008. Now a four-piece, the band have become adults on this second album. It’s better in every way than the debut.

‘The Naturist’ was a perfect lead single for the album, it has a lovely intro, with Niamh Farrell’s vocals sounding better than ever, before launching into a beautiful bridge and chorus. It’s meticulously produced by Karl Odlum, and holds itself back from being overwrought and gimmicky. At the same time, it’s easy to see that the song has lots of room to grow on the live stage, and no doubt will become a staple encore song or closer at Ham Sandwich gigs.

Title track ‘White Fox’ is more upbeat, but still knows when to hold back. I think that’s what impresses me about Ham Sandwich 2.0. They know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em… And boy when they run, do they run. The second single from the album is ‘OH-OH’, and shows off the band’s power. The chorus is bombastic, and fantastically memorable. The perfect choice for the follow-up to ‘The Naturist’.

‘Ants’ is the album’s highlight, with the vocal interplay between the soft Farrell and the husky McNamee working marvellously. Podge’s vocals here actually remind me of a song by the National, and the keys are splendid. Having listened to the album multiple times in the last few weeks, it’s actually hard to find weak spots in the record. I don’t love ‘Models’ or ‘Long Distance’ as much as the rest, but that would just be picking holes in a great follow-up album.

Another wonderful Irish album in 2010. It really is proving to be the best year for Irish music yet.

[xrr rating=4.5/5]

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