…Cannot Be Killed By Conventional Weapons.
Yes, indeed it may.
I’ve been waiting for this, the 2nd album proper by England’s The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing with baited breath for what seems like years. Really it’s only been a few months since titterings of the albums release began to pepper the fringe corners of the internet, but with a first album that – to me – came from so far out of nowhere and completely blew me away (one of my top five of 2010) I’m what you would call invested.
Equal parts face-shredding musical mosaic and painstakingly curated alt-history lesson, The Men’s musical direction has not changed, but rather gained the enhancement of age and practice. It comes as no surprise then that as true to the sound The Men established on their first album as the new album is there are some new colours in thrown into the mix here, and for marvelous effect. ‘Margate Fhtagn‘ begins as a lively holiday romp down to the coast executed with all the bounce of a track by early 90’s groups such as Sugar or dare I even say Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. However the trip as well as the track quickly devolves into full out Black Metal Crust as Cthulhu rises from the deep and overturns our narrator and his family’s plans for a factory worker’s much deserved swim at the beach. Still, mind-bending horror aside, the Nameless One doesn’t have even close to enough chutzpah to cast a shadow on the quaint social niceties of 19th century Britain, as evidenced by the song’s final, charming refrain, “Didn’t we have a lovely time the day we met Cthulhu?”
Magic. Pure Magic.
Then there’s the strange but wonderfully endearing ‘Doing it for the Whigs‘ – a treatise on Victorian politics that perfectly fuses Sex Pistols-esque vitriol with the fist pumping, kick drum-driven pound of 80’s stadium rock.
The Men have done a fantastic job assimilating some of the tropes currently haunting the Steampunk literary genre – ideas that, to me, already seem trite or overused on the printed page absolutely fascinate with the distinguished patina of Edward “Leviathan” Mallory’s pistols on a modern day auction block within the context of this band’s music. How many times can Zombies, already well past overused in pop culture, be interjected into alt-history or Steampunk* novels before they finally just lay back down and die? Well, I’m happy to say if it’s ever worked anywhere at all, it’s in opening track ‘Victoria’s Secret‘, another place the band uses a dirtier, sludgier grind than we’ve seen them use before to conjure Prince Albert’s brain-slathering return to his wife from beyond the comfort of the grave.
And those of you who think my meager review suggests that gone is the more ‘steam’ element of the band in favor of the ‘punk’ – fear not, other tracks see the return of the singing saw, the welcome comedic exchanges that made ‘Steph(v)enson‘ my favorite track on the first album and the public house sing-a-long stylings that makes TMTWNBBFN a true representation of the people’s music!
The people of Victorian England that is. If it had given birth to the socially malevolent slash and burn of the late 70’s punk movement that is.
The album is This May Be The Reason Why The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing Cannot Be Killed By Conventional Weapons and it is out March 12 of this year – support awesome indie music and PRE-ORDER IT HERE!!!
Here’s the first track the guys have released on their facebook page:
* Of course the very idea of ‘Steampunk’ as a genre, with it’s own set of defining conventions, is a question I’ve pondered many times here on Chud, and something I asked TMTWNBBFN’s bassist Marc Burrows when I interviewed him about almost a year and a half ago HERE (my how time flies!!!)