The Balladmongrels is a raucous collaboration from Dogs D’Amour frontman Tyla J. Pallas and Northern Irish singer-songwriter Matty James Cassidy. Their glorious mix of raw guitars, dark romantic lyrics, beautiful melodies and rousing choruses will implant themselves in your brain, heart and soul and never let go.
The Balladmongrels’ debut album ‘Trouble‘ reached #13 in the UK Independent Album Chart upon release and includes singles such as the rollicking and crashing guitar-driven ‘Ballad of the Knucklemen’, the anthemic title track ‘Trouble‘, the hauntingly brilliant ‘How the Beautiful Fall’ and the incendiary ‘Evil Under the Moon’, all complete with music videos shot everywhere from ancient Irish graveyards to the streets of New York City.
Towards the end of the UK’s 2nd lockdown, Tyla and Matty discussed releasing a 7” single with one of their own songs on each side. After a few drinks they decided instead to write some new songs and record an entire album. After a few more drinks (red wine & Guinness if you’re interested) they further developed the idea into an all new transient band with their co-written songs at it’s core.
And so… The Balladmongrels were born…
Initially they thought about calling themselves The Balladmongers. A name taken from Tyla’s first solo album (The Life & Times of a Balladmonger) to reflect both Tyla’s career – in which he has variously been described as a balladeer and street poet – and Matty treading a similar, but different musical path. Matty suggested “mongrels” might be a better fit…
Mongrel n. an individual resulting from the crossing of different breeds; a cross between types of persons or things
Speaking about the name and concept, Tyla said,
“I loved the idea of two songwriters from different generations collaborating – taking one of my ballads and getting a younger mongrel, like Matty, to give it some bollocks”
“We also liked the juxtaposition of having “ballad” in the name, as most of the album is full-tilt rock n’ roll. People may have seen us playing together acoustic and expect the album to be the same… it’s not”
Describing how things came together, Matty said,
“Maybe it’s because we’ve worked together for so long we find it natural to get on the same song-writing wavelength. Tyla would write a verse, then I’d write one. It just became really easy to work up the songs. We started off with a couple of ideas and ended up with an album. It was so much fun it’d be a shame not to do another one and keep it going. If you like anything either of us has done in the past you’ll definitely find something in this record”
Also speaking about the process, Tyla said,
“I like to start writing most songs acoustic. With ‘Knucklemen’ Matty spruced it up, but with ‘Trouble’ he completely re-wrote it into something different. His vocals are higher in the mix and he leads on most songs. That’s deliberate, as otherwise it would turn into another Dogs’ album if it was centred around me. Music’s got to evolve and change”
The pair first met when Matty went to see Tyla play an acoustic gig in Belfast in the late 2000’s when Matty was still in school. He moved over to England a couple of years later and his band supported Tyla on a few dates. They kept in touch and when Matty started playing solo acoustic gigs, this fit in well with what Tyla was doing at the time and he became the regular support for Tyla who was very encouraging of his music, even featuring on one of Matty’s early recordings. Since 2015 Matty has also played bass in Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour, in addition to playing regularly with Tyla as an acoustic duo performing their infamous ‘Ballads & Banter’ shows.
As an album, Trouble has much to offer fans of The Dogs D’Amour and Tyla’s and Matty’s solo material. It presents the meeting of their distinct songwriting styles as they share and take turns on vocal duties, complementing each other while bringing in a range of their wider musical influences from Thin Lizzy to The Pogues.
Words: Graeme McAlister
“It’s an absolute stormer of a record… ” 9/10 – Powerplay Rock and Metal Magazine
“This is the most rock n roll release of 2023” 9.5/10 – Maximum Volume Music
“this is an album that demands the lowering of the lights and the poring of a large bourbon.” **** – Get Ready to Rock
“… some of the coolest tunes of the year.” – Vive Le Rock Magazine
“This is the sound of a couple of very talented songwriters being inspired by each other and feeding off that like a pair of frenzied piranhas… exceptional songs” 10/10 – RPM Online
“… a collection of rabble-rousing songs worthy of anyone’s turntable… ” – Louder Than War
“‘Trouble’ is a glorious mix of raw guitars, full-tilt rock’n’roll, dark romantic lyrics, beautiful melodies and rousing choruses which won’t let go.“ – Rockfiend