The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing are an absolute tour-de-force in a live setting. The steampunk band (emphasis on the word ‘punk’) are a gleefully theatrical band that sound like Dropkick Murphys and Rancid got conceptual and decided to write about Victorian London. It all sounds utterly ludicrous on paper but when you see the band live, their theming and imagery meld together perfectly with their high energy punk rock for an absolute electric evening’s entertainment.
Unfortunately the band have a harder time transferring this energy onto record and while their third album Not Your Typical Victorians has a fair few moments where it all snaps together with a satisfying click, the band get a bit self-indulgent and turn out a few songs that don’t feel like they have enough ideas to warrant their inclusion.
To begin, let’s approach the band at their best. Furious punk rock sing-a-longs like the title track, Viva La Difference Engine and Inheritor’s Powder are joyous, rip-roaring blasts of fun that will whip any audience into a frenzy. The band sprinkles their sound with plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour and even manages to poke fun at their own gimmick on the title track when they declare they’re “not even that fond of steam”. The band also manages to make their more careful and considered moments work surprisingly well when their concept is at its strongest. This House is Not Haunted is sold as an ‘atheist ghost story’ and it’s hauntingly desperate lyricism is one of the record’s real highlights.
Unfortunately, there’s quite a few times when the band’s concept isn’t strong enough to carry the music. Songs like Turned out Nice Again and The Worst Sideshow Ever spend far too long beating a single riff into submission and vocalist Andy Heintz has to try and save this repetitive snore-fest with his vocals alone. Heintz clearly struggles on these tracks and his vocals get quite sparse and result in cringe-worthy lines like, “as if my life ain’t bad enough, fucking London town” which simply lack any impact.
The repetition is what really makes Not Your Typical Victorians sag. Even songs with strong melodies like Miner and Third Class Coffin suffer from repeated refrains that seem to go on and on with nothing strong to say other than things like “I’m a third class citizen, even when I’m dead”. Also, are we still doing songs that celebrate alcoholism (see Rum by Alestorm and Vodka by Korplikaani)? I understand it’s a decent bit of fun but heavy music seems to be inundated with songs like The Gin Song and the concept alone is just a bit tiresome at this point.
Despite never really finding a strong theme to glue the record together in a more wholesome fashion, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing have delivered a handful of really entertaining and enjoyable punk rock stompers that will keep their fans happy, but for everyone else the lack of consistency on Not Your Typical Victorians means it’s difficult to recommend as an album you should listen to front-to-back. The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing have all the right elements to create a really striking and memorable record but at the moment it’s their live show that delivers this the best.
The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing’s Not Your Typical Victorians is released on October 16th and can be pre-ordered by clicking here.