Solo artist HENSHAW’s latest album titled “Nobody Cares, Work Harder” is a stripped back folk-punk project driven by fervent vocals and a gritty, acoustic atmosphere.  

The opening track of “Nobody Cares, Work Harder” instantly sets up the acoustic, folk guitar backbone of the record with its stripped back sound and raw vocals. Titled “Nice Folk” the lyrics sound straight from the mouth of a person from the older generation complaining about today’s youth for whom life has objectively got much harder for protesting and wanting to positively change the world whilst looking back with rose tinted to the “good old days” in a way that must be satirical. The second track “No Longer Proud” is also politically charged reflecting on the destruction of Britain by those in power, with the same acoustic guitar backing but this time added fiddle sections give the song an enchantingly archaic, Celtic touch.  

One key feature of HENSHAW’s record “Nobody Cares, Work Harder” is its stripped back and completely unclad vocals which give a feeling of authenticity to the music. This raw delivery transports the listener to a folk night at some cosy, old British pub with a pint in hand and the rain falling outside. You can imagine HENSHAW receives much success in this kind of setting. Emotive and a little rough around the edges, HENSHAW’s vocals are at the core of his distinct sound. On tracks such as “Opposite of Chaos” and “The Day I Fell To Bits” HENSHAW uses his voice powerfully to reflect the emotions of the lyrics as they take on a life of their own, always coming from the heart.  

The best cuts from “Nobody Cares, Work Harder” all have a lively and full instrumental backing to them that creates an exuberant atmosphere. The song “Legends of the Railway” is a roaring acoustic track accompanied by live strings, it’s folk music at its absolute best with both a driving pace and a rural, homely feel to it. “Smiling Queens” is another potent track from the album with an unforgiving, tense rhythm and build up encapsulating the listeners imagination. “Now It’s 30 Years” is another racing acoustic number that’s sprightly pace gives it a youthful, energetic charm despite its wittily phrased reflections on growing older.  

Despite HENSHAW’s passionate lyricism and vocals this is sometimes dampened by a few of the tracks feeling incomplete. On “A Song from the Heart” and the following track “Part of the Arbour” some more instruments and layers could have added to make the tracks as stirring as they potentially could have been. The closing track of the album “Out of the Frying Pan into a Similar Shaped Frying Pan” is as needlessly long as its title, with a strong chorus but a build-up that ends up nowhere the track doesn’t finish “Nobody Cares, Work Harder” with the bang it should have gone out with. But overall, the album has a solid aesthetic to it and makes for a nostalgic and politically relevant listen.