Merry Hell Ghost

‘The Ghost In Our House and other stories…’ (Mrs Casey Records)


30th March 2015

Merry Hell want all you disenchanted, downtrodden hordes. They want to wrap their collective arms around you without any promise to make it better or easy. They won’t make you richer, they can’t guarantee justice but what they can guarantee you is a warm heart and a song or two that will never leave your head or your lips. And sometimes, that’s all that you need.

The Ghost In Our House, the third album from the band, is populated by the spirits of betrayal, loss, love and lament, but with enough echoes of hope to make the journey bearable. And just occasionally, joyous.

Merry Hell don’t make their political foundations ambiguous, bankers are bastards and the little man heroic if sometimes flawed. And let’s not forget it. ‘No Money’ speaks of money men backed by the Tories, leaving our protagonist cast aside on life’s periphery, all wrapped up in a paradoxically jaunty melody that’s destined to make this a crowd favourite.

Darker still, Bob Kettle’s ‘Old Soldier’ weeps for ‘communities sold to the free market’ whilst sending young people to fight for a lie. ‘Pillar Of Society’ and ‘Human Communion’ champion the dignity of the struggling individual whilst sending a rallying call to strength in numbers.

And don’t think love and relationships are getting away scot free. ‘The Bakers Daughter’, ‘Love Is A Game, ‘Reason To Be’ all drip with romantic disenchantment. John Kettles ‘Hey Scotty’ has, ironically, his wife Virginia dreaming of Captain America but ending up with the pig, ‘with his surgical support and his ill-fitting wig’.

Yet for all this, ‘Rage Like Thunder’ screams against the dying of the light, keeping your edge sharp and not settling for contentment. The title track revisits the themes from ‘Blink, And You Miss It’ of living for the moment and living it well. It’s not death they fear, it’s mediocrity.


The addition of fiddle player Neil McCartney has given the band a fuller, more authentic sound, and Gordon Giltrap guests on arguably the albums standout track, ‘Leave A Light On’, a beautifully painful ode to those who cling to hope through the pitch black cavern of loss.

But all is not completely lost. This is, after all Merry Hell. In ‘No Place Like Tomorrow’ they leave us with the truly wonderful Virginia Kettle’s vow to the ‘weary, the fractured, the broken’, that a new dawn is waiting beyond the horizon.

What a relief. With Ghost In Our House rarely have hard times felt so damn good.


  • 1. Theres A Ghost In Our House
  • 2. Leave A Light On
  • 3. Summer Is A-Comin’
  • 4. The Baker’s Daughter
  • 5. Human Communion
  • 6. The Old Soldier
  • 7. Rage Like Thunder
  • 8. Love Is A Game
  • 9. Pillar Of Society
  • 10. No Money
  • 11. Hey, Scotty!
  • 12. Reason To Be
  • 13. Out Of My Mind
  • 14. Feed Your Soul
  • 15. No Place Like Tomorrow


All words by Paul Ariss. More work by Paul on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul can also be found on twitter as @PaulAriss1.

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Sketch contributor on BBC Radio 2 and 4 comedy shows. Shadow Writer on Series 7 and 8 of Channel 4’s Shameless, and contributor to its online platform.


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