Label: Earache Records
Released: 13th March 2020
In the follow up to their 2018 debut ‘Challenger’, Haggard Cat are pushing the limits of their already chaotic noise and using their platform to express their angst at modern society. Lead single ‘European Hardware’ with its dizzying licks is a testament to the band’s punk roots by digging at the corrupted powers that be. At times buried beneath an echo chamber of ruckus, Matt Reynolds vocals are ever gravelly and almost pained in their desperate yelling, but ‘The Native’ serves as a reprieve in its more subdued delivery. The eerie atmospheric layering of guitar effects and a velvety tone add to an atmosphere which shows a side unseen thus far with Haggard Cat and trickles into album closer ‘Ghosts Already’ – a song about the negative effects of social media.
On the whole, ‘Common Sense Holiday’ sees the band delve further into their familiar sound. It comes as no surprise then, that their riskier elements make for more interesting listening. What starts off as their tried and tested method evolves into completely uncharted territory. ‘Cheat’ comes with a distinct exasperation in the words, “I’m so fucking sick /I’ve wasted every chance I have,” which is screamed in the most guttural way and leaves the mind wondering how it’s possible for someone to continue on with such lingering resentment. For the song to end in an experimental jazz solo is one of the most unexpected moments from this kind of band, but shows that there’s a risk worth taking in switching things up. Thematically, the main point is finding out how to work through unrest, while the album is in no way revolutionary to a new listener, it is testament to the saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.