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Album Review: Double Negative by The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing

‘Victorian-themed punk rock’ band The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing release their new album Double Negative on 9th March via Leather Apron Records. Formed ten years ago, but with hearts rooted firmly in 1888, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing (the name, of course, derives from a chalk inscription found in Whitechapel near the bloodied apron of Ripper victim Catherine Eddowes) are a band who have been closely associated with the Steampunk subculture.

The band always had mixed feelings about steampunk, “A couple of years ago,” says O’Neill, “I put out a zine called Fuck Steampunk, which started ‘Hello, cunts! So, Steampunk’s pretty shit now, isn’t it?’ My personal vision of what Steampunk could have been was this anarchist future-dystopian skill-sharing thing. Let’s learn how to make stuff, let’s learn how to fix stuff. There’s a great book about this called The Steampunk Guide To The Apocalypse. But what it became was people dressing up at weekends.”

As bassist/vocalist Marc Burrows points out, one crucial difference lies in the content of The Men’s work. “Steampunk has a cyberpunk element to it that we never had. Our songs are set in a realistic 19th century. A grimy dark underbelly of Victorian London which actually existed.” O’Neill agrees: “We’re Peter Ackroyd, rather than William Gibson.” So, with one foot inside the Steampunk camp, and one foot out, are they The Men That Doth Protest Too Much? “We like a lot of Steampunks but we don’t feel part of it, O’Neill explains, “We’re not in denial, like the ‘I’m not a goth’ thing, but we don’t think it’s a good fit for who we are as four different people.”

Really that shouldn’t matter in the slightest, unfortunately though, it’s the most interesting thing about The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. While Double Negative isn’t a bad album, it’s at a level of blandness that goes against what you’d expect from the band. You expect some theatrics, something different, some excitement. What you’re given is run-of-the-mill punk rock.

Lead single ‘Supply and Demand’ is the standout track with ‘Disease Control’ following just behind, then you’ve got 7 forgettable tracks. There’s some merit to each one, the guitar work is snarling and driving but it’s not enough to save it from being an unremarkable album.

AD Rating 5/10



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