A decade on the road, but with a lyrical sensibility slammed firmly in the 19th century, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing (TMTWNBBFN in all future references to save my keyboard getting battered out of existence) are in the year of our lord two thousand and eighteen unleashing upon the world the puntastically titled ‘Double Negative’, and true to their own anarchic DIY ethos, it is self released on their own label, and all the better for it. Yes, these four purveyors of scathing Victorian social commentary may have to work their collective fingers to the bone preparing, releasing, promoting and touring their material, but it means that their sound is undiluted by any outside interference or necessity to try and appeal to a mainstream audience.
‘Supply & Demand’ windmills out of the blocks with a flurry of hobnailed boots and attitude, telling the tales of the resurrectionists who supplied medical schools with bodies in contravention of the upper class social stigmas of the day that placed so much value on the sanctity of corpses, whilst at the same time caring so little about the pain wrecked lives of the underclasses. You could take this as nothing but a fable of days gone by told in a glorious punk sprint, but equally it could be a stab at the modern world where those working class bogeymen Burke and Hare suffer the full consequences of the law, yet those who hired them avoid punishment by virtue of status and wealth. Hmm, surely such a thing couldn’t happen in modern twenty first century Britain, could it?
The horror stakes are upped in ‘Baby Farmer’, opening with an audio clip from classic Tom Baker era Who Story ‘Talons of Weng Chiang’ (Now who could have sourced that? I’m looking at you and your Seal of Rassilon tattoo Mr O’Neill!), before pink bearded frontman and personal kicker of cancer’s arse Andy Heintz snarls out the lurid and horrifying story of commercialised child murder.; there is none of the bodice ripping romanticism of modern television in TMTWNBBFN’s bleak commentary on the days of British empire. Aleister Crowley style obsession with the occult follows in ‘Hidden’, whilst ‘Disease Control’ charts the almost medieval plagues that decimated London’s underclasses to a surprisingly upbeat tempo, all before the triumphant glory of ‘Obscene Fucking Machine’, a tribute to the gluttonous and licentious appetites of heir apparent Albert Victor, and the machinations of the establishment to protect him. If you’ve ever had the joy of seeing Eddie Izzard’s performance in ‘Victor and Abdul’, you’ll have a fine starting point to imagine the dissipated star of the song. Stabs at modernity continue with ‘Occam’s Razor’, where the insanity bubble of modern conspiracy theorists is burst, before a sadly timeless tale of profit above people is told over a combination of black metal riffing and discordant punk solos in ‘God Is In The Bottom Line.
Each and every song on ‘Double Negative’ is fantastically crafted, from the biting lyrics delivered with an even angrier Ian Dury sneer, to the stripped back guitar, to the rock solid beats of Messrs Burrows and Miller, from the first frantic chords of the album opener, to the fading minimalism of the call to arms that is ‘There’s Going To Be A Revolution’, and frankly, if I were to try and put into words all the praise that the band deserve, any reader would be in danger of thinking I was somehow in the pay of these fine gents. This is by far and away the most accomplished album by TMTWNBBFN, and having had the joy of seeing them on stage, I have no doubt it will be delivered live with all the energy and fury that is evident in the recording. Don’t be a modern dick and just swag a free download of the album, rather buy it, catch the band on tour, and keep the steam powered machine that is The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing machine rolling; that is all!