Review by Liam Taylor. Fantastical Victorian Steampunkers, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, are releasing their new album Double Negative this Friday, (March 9th). Pre-orders can be acquired through Bandcamp, where you can also stream the lead single and opening track, Supply and Demand.
This collection of tracks are all focused on the grim realities of life in Victorian Britain - track 1 is no exception. Supply and Demand puts vocalist Andy Heintz into the shoes of bodysnatchers Burke & Hare. Musically, it's a punky shout-along which is self-aware enough to not last longer than 2 minutes.
Our 2nd track, Baby Farmer is about Amelia Dyer, infamous for drowning unwanted babies in the Thames. The vocals are reminiscent of classic English punk - Sham69 and the like. The guitars here lie somewhere between traditional punk and NWBHM, especially the edgy intro riff.
Hidden focuses on guitarist & vocalist Andrew O'Neill's Magick obsession. It even features O'Neill performing The Bornless Ritual towards the end of an instrumental section.
Disease Control features a jarring coutnerpoint between "normal" and shouty vocals. It grows on you though, it's just a bit unexpected at first. Lyrically, the track looks at one of the Victorian period's scientific advances: John Snow's discovery that 1854's Soho cholera epidemic was waterborne.
Track 5 focuses on the gluttony and depravity of Prince Bertie, Queen Victoria's massively overweight son. The humorous lyrics in Obscene Fucking Machine appeal directly to the anti-monarchist in me, who doesn't get as much air time as he should.
Occam's Razor remains prevalent in some way throughout the track. The track becomes even more intriguing when we reach a fast-paced vocal section, almost rap-like in it's deftness. Perhaps surprisingly, this is is the first track the band have released about Jack The Ripper - although they're not fantasising about the mythos, rather pointing out the grossness of it being used to sell books.
God is in the Bottom Line is about child labour, which was commonplace during Victoria's reign. Fittingly, this is an aggressive track, especially with Jez Miller's frantic, hardcore punk drums.
The hillariously on-the-nose title of track 8 gives some hint as to it's content. There She Glows is a dissonant love song addressed to scientist Marie Curie, who pioneered experiments with radiation. Bassist & Vocalist Marc Burrows tells us “Her actual recipe book is still radioactive. You have to handle it with special gloves.”
It's hard to work out whether the impassioned finale, There's Going to be a Revolution, is about historical unrest or the alleged Commie uprising we're, (apparently), living through. It's an odd choice to close the album - ending with a cavalcade of distorted guitars over a very repetetive riff and electronic-sounding drum loop. Maybe that's the point, they're making some kind of statement? A rare miss judging by the rest of the disk.
Overall, there's something on Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing's new album for punks, metalheads and anybody who's sick of the rose-tinted glasses through which Steampunk views a pretty unpleasent era. Musically, we're not breaking any boundaries but that's fine - the tracks are well-written, well-constructed and well-produced. They do much more than support the lyrics, which are compelling from both a poetic standpoint and a comic one. Worth a listen: 8/10.
MON 12 MAR - Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
TUE 13 MAR - Newcastle, Trillians
WED 14 MAR - Edinburgh, Bannermans
THU 15 MAR - Birmingham, Castle & Falcon
SAT 17 MAR - York, Fulford Arms
SUN 18 MAR - Milton Keynes, Craufurd Arms
MON 19 MAR - Cardiff, Globe
TUE 20 MAR - Chester, The Live Rooms
WED 21 MAR - Leicester, The Shed
THU 22 MAR - Exeter, The Cavern
FRI 23 MAR - London, The Dome
SAT 24 MAR - Southampton, Joiners
SUN 25 MAR - Bristol, The Exchange
TUE 17 JUL - Detroit US, Motor City Steamcon
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