THE MEN THAT WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING -Bio
Double Negative is the newest album from London steampunk outfit The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, a name taken from part of the graffiti found chalked on a wall in Victorian London, possibly by the infamous killer Jack The Ripper.
For those unfamiliar with The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, the band have been around since 2008 with their first release being two years later. That release was renamed, as a major record label threatened to sue them as This Is What I Call supposedly was infringement of copyright. Being a band who are happy to laugh and take the proverbial, it was re-released as The Steampunk Album That Cannot Be Named For Legal Reasons.
Their songs tend to revolve round the Victorian period of history and often name check people from that time in history. Most famously on earlier releases, characters such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel (“Brunel”) and Charles Darwin (“Charlie”) are referred to. Pleasingly, the new album continues that theme, with songs referencing the previously mentioned Jack The Ripper, along with Burke and Hare and Marie Curie.
THE MEN THAT WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING – Double Negative
“Double Negative” is the most punk album the band have made. In punk tradition, the album rattles along quickly, not outstaying its welcome at less than 30 minutes. It is punk in the old school sense, but with a Cockney style knees up delivery and hints of metal in amongst it, most notably on “Hidden” which has a mid-section that sounds very much like a Black Sabbath piece.
The lyrics work on two levels. You can just enjoy some black humoured songs about the harshness of that era of history or you can work out which songs refer to what in the modern day world (especially in Britain). The album is actually quite political if you care to pay attention. Alternatively, you can just jump around and sing a long with the very infectious choruses. It is terrific, either way!
Opener “Supply And Demand” comes out the blocks like a whippet. A song about the infamous body snatchers, who eventually started killing for bodies to sell in the city of Edinburgh (Burke And Hare). However, it also a song about greed and the disdain of those in power. The whole attitude of “she’s dead anyway, so what’s the fucking harm?” could be related to the sick and disabled having their benefits cut. Well, they are dying anyway! Just make it a bit quicker. The brutality of the music matches the lyrics.
Second song had me googling, as I was unsure about the story of all the dead babies that were washed up on the shores of the Thames over 100 years ago. “Baby Farmer” is a look at life in an era. Having a child out of wedlock was frowned on and abortion was illegal. Having a number of prominent politicians in the UK against the rights of women to have abortions the question then arises, if you have no legal ways to stop unwanted children, what will people do then? Do we really want to revisit the past?
“Obscene Fucking Machine” is a look at the monarchy through the years. It is unlikely any of the band will get a Knighthood after this song, even if they had a chance before! The whole idea is of cover ups, as authority cannot let it fall (lyrics repeat “the house of cards cannot fall down”), and it is the best anti monarchy song since the Sex Pistols‘s version of “God Save The Queen”.
“Occams Razor” is also about cover ups. Historically about Jack The Ripper, this could apply to many incidents happening now or the very recent past. The theory of probability is explored (well, he was probably guilty of the crimes). I imagine the lyric line “it was over a hundred years ago” will no doubt be belted out by the crowd when they play it live. Furthermore, the idea of stretching the truth to fit your story just for a collar or arrest by the police is considered. Considering how many cases have been looked at recently. with early releases from prison, due to be miscarriages of justice and finding out how politicians, along with the police covered each other’s backs shows nothing much has changed.
I could describe each song but the nine tracks all are excellent, with plenty of energy and clever word play throughout. It is, as I found out (I am a bit of a lyric fiend), also rather educational. So if you want an album that is full of fun with slightly disturbing songs that teach you history and how history is oft to repeat itself, then this is the album for you.
It finishes with a call to arms, for a revolution, to storm the Palace and make the royals and upper class pay for how they have ridden roughshod (and still do) over the ordinary people. It doesn’t get more punk in attitude than that. If The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing are starting it, then I say “bring it on and count me in”!
All in all, great stuff!
Photos courtesy of The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing from their Facebook page. Reproduced with thanks.