THE MEN THAT WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING
Cannot be killed by Conventional Weapons
Being practically illiterate, I had not heard of the
fictional genre of
steampunk that apparently incorporates science fiction,
alternative history. So I had little comprehension what the TMTWNBBFNs
album would be like when they bragged they put the punk into
Apparently named after chalked graffiti discovered at
a Jack the
Ripper murder scene, they describe themselves as "Crusty punk
cockney sing-songs meets grind core in the 1880s." Fronted by
comedian Andrew ONeill this is their second offering of
history lessons after debut album Now That's What I Call Steampunk!
Volume 1 was released in 2010.
After a spoken word intro by ex Dr Who Sylvester McCoy,
Victorias Secret starts like a Slipknot number.
But rather than
getting a song dedicated to the delectable world of womens lingerie,
it actually turns out to revolve around the reincarnation of
QueenVictorias dead husband, Prince Albert. Zombie-like he has
from the grave with a taste for commoners brains.
Nice chorus of
Zombie Albert, repeated endlessly, makes me think that
the band have
more than a touch of tongue-in-cheek about them.
Then a major change of musical direction in next track
Margate Fhtagn. Initially it sounds like the Small Faces
doing their cheeky Cockney chappies routine. But out of nowhere it
morphs into a black metal mid-section that would do justice to Mayhem
or Emperor. The storyline may (or may not) have something to do with
H P Lovercraft's short story The Call of Cthulhu, but
the songs then continues to alternate between music-hall and metal
throughout. Definitely different.
No true anacho-punk album would be complete without
the obligatory rant
at the Government. So when next track starts with an observation that
Tory rule has gone on far too long, I thought I was in
Crass/Conflict fare. However the steampunk element shines through
fact they are relating the situation in 1850s Britain in Doing
the Whigs. A laudable thing as the Whigs contested power with
Tories largely on a mandate of the abolition of slavery and votes
To my knowledge there have not been many songs written
in homage to
onanism. However, The Peoples Common Sense Medical Advisor
the widely held Victoria view that too much self-relief led to insanity.
The track is related by the books author, R V Pearce MD, to one of
his patients. However it transpires that this is the good doctors
excuse for any medical malody. Rather quaint ditty, however you probably
dont want to be singing the infectious chorus How many
times a day do you masturbate? when standing in the queue at
Free spirit rounds off side one and unbelievably
this track was
originally released on wax cylinder. I kid you not, see here.
And so the album continues in this curious mix of Victoria
played out over crunching guitars and drums. Next track Brunel
eulogises the work of innovative engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Utilising a Dead Kennedys riff the band relate the rampant self
confidence of the worlds premier ship and bridge builder, all
whilst wearing a stovepipe hat. Makes you proud to be
Mention should be made of the rest of the band who provide
over which ONeill can rant, Andy Heintz on additional vocals
guitar, Marc Burrows on bass and Jez Miller on drums. They show their
credentials on the 29 second blitzkrieg that is A Read Dead
I may be wrong, but I cant think of many songs
in the charts today that open with similar lyrics to 1858, sewage
and human waste is being
dumped untreated into the Thames. The summer sun bears down and London
starts to drown in a rising tide of its own shit. Heavy drumming
guitars gives the track a rather claustrophobic feel as the band wades
need deep in the effluent covered streets of the capital where Ammonia
burns my eyes, the sky is black with flies. Nice.
Probably my favourite track is Tesla Coil
which uses a nice play on
words to tell the story of a (hopefully) mythical early form of birth
control. Recounting the fact that his wife had resorted to having
fitted to stop him getting frisky in the marital bed, we find that
if he makes any improper move it results in What a shock, what
10,000 volts shoot through my cock. And thats got to bring
any mans eyes!
Whilst I think it is fair to say that this album contains
more than a
certain amount of mirth, there is an old adage that says Many
word is spoken in jest.This is no better seen than in penultimate
track Mutiny in the Common Soldiery. This highlights that
in most wars it is common man killing common man, whilst the rich
and powerful look on from a respectable distance. The obvious comparison
is the insane slaughter played out in World War 1 and the sheer waste
of a generation due to the incompetence of the hierarchy. Poignant
lyrics give voice to the fact that for the normal soldier I
got more in common with the bugger on my bayonet than the toff whos
telling me to stick it in his guts. Truly lions led by donkeys.
And to finish off Poor Georgie, an acoustic
song rather disturbingly
about child taxidermy. Still, all done in the best possible taste!
So there you have it, certainly a unique and ultimately
enjoyable album. Whether there is any longevity in the subject matter
in open to
question, but it definitely make a refreshing change from the
punk-by-numbers bands that seem to clogging up the genre at the moment.
So check them out for equal measure of comedy and social
commentary. The album is released on March 12th and the band tours
various London dens of inequity around this time as promotion.