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Review: The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing’s Not Your Typical Victorians

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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.

6/10

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.

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Live Review: The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing at the Camden Barfly 9/9/15

It’s not often I go to a punk show and laugh my eyes dry but during The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing’s album launch show I did exactly just that. Instead of the usual local punk acts in the support slots, the band went out of their way to make this a unique night’s entertainment by booking a selection of comedy acts, while Andrew and Marc from The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing acted as compères.

Andrew took to the stage first and laid down the foundations for the evening. The man is an incredibly witty, fast and engaging comedian and you know you’re in a room with the right people when a man can say, “scream if you don’t identify with gender stereotypes!” and the whole place roars in celebration. I was already in a very happy place by the time Andrew finished his set.

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The first act of the evening was a comedian by the name of Wil Hodgson. Wil’s set was a bit of a slow-burner and his comedy favoured stories over quick-fire jokes, but it wasn’t until he started a tale about buying My Little Ponies from local advertisements that the absurdity of a fairly large bearded man with an affection for brightly coloured children’s toys began to set in. Wil is a wonderful comedian with a penchant for all things nerdy and it soon became apparent in a short Q&A that he did with Andrew that you’d really like to be his friend.

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What came next was an act that brought me to tears. Brian Damage & Krysstal are a comedy two-piece that tell bizarrely depressing yet heart-warming tales of growing old and losing touch with what’s cool. Their set was so unbelievably hysterical that little throwaway gags would get the biggest laughs and it felt like you were peering into the two’s rehearsals. Brian & Krysstal are a fantastic comedy act that you simply must see.

Then the proceedings were brought back into The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing’s camp and Marc took to the stage to share a few comedic stories about himself, the band and his family. Marc’s comedy is a lot more straight-laced than the other acts on the bill and while I certainly had some good laughs, he was always going to struggle following an act like Brian & Krysstal.

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Regardless, it was now time for music and The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing took to the stage. If you’re not familiar with the band then you won’t know that they play a very memorable form of punk that sounds like Dropkick Murphys wrestling with Rancid. It’s brash, fast and strangely danceable punk that tells dark and twisted tales of Victorian history with a big focus on the industrial revolution and diseases that have all but gone away in modern times.

The band’s music is wonderfully theatrical which perfectly complements their cartoonish performance and image. Despite this being an album showcase for the band’s third record Not Your Typical Victorians, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing deliver a brilliantly diverse set that takes you on a real journey. While their fast and bratty punk always remains the staple of their sound, there are some beautiful moments of respite and storytelling that offer so much more than simply beating the audience around the head with heaviness.

Speaking of heaviness, when the band want to be heavy they really can be. We get some wonderful Soundgarden-esque grooves, a few doomy moments and some guttural death metal vocals that once again show just how multifaceted they can be.

The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing put on one of the best punk shows I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing and as for the evening as a whole, this was a spectacular night’s entertainment that was wonderfully diverse and it was all the better for it. Make sure you catch The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing on their upcoming album tour; you will not regret it.