Written by Victoria L Schulz
The Men Who Will Not be Blamed for Nothing are a British band formed in 2008, during the rise of Steampunk as a legitimate genre. They amusingly describe their music as “Crusty punk meets cockney sing-songs meets grindcore in the 1880’s”.
With Double Negative, TMTWNBBFN keep up the banner of intense politically charged rock with lyrical nods to history gone wrong. Guitars clang with urgency and their vocalists holler with an almost drunken lunacy that would delight hard core listeners and punk fans alike.
The sudden breakdown guitar melody from Occam’s Razor, a raucous piece about Jack the Ripper, could have been played in an alternative club in the 1990’s. It reminds me of the soundtrack music by SQÜRL in the movie “Only Lovers Left Alive”. It has a plaintive growing melody and tempo that prepares you for a bitter end, much like the Ripper’s victims.
Their driving rhythms and dramatic pauses on Disease Control echoes the sounds of the Dropkick Murphys without the Irish sentiment. These musical touches only enhance the desperation of the Soho cholera epidemic of 1854 of which they sing.
There She Glows is a rocking ode to Marie Curie (my personal favourite). The dangers of radiation, and provided one sure ear-worm for me, “Can you cure yourself Curie?” “No you can’t”, the band responds in rousing fashion.
My second favourite track, Big Fat Fucking Machine, is full of frustration at the gluttony of Prince Bertie, a man who would be king, and his consorts who continually covered up his escapades. It also contains a favoured wry lyric , opening with “For Christ’s sake, look at the man”.
The steady pulse jam of There’s Going to be a Revolution embodies the sense of a foreboding, of anarchy approaching. I found it to be a good “gear up” song before heading out for a show. As not surprisingly, not much has changed in the last couple hundred years.
Double Negative review: Conclusion
Double Negative certainly puts the punk back in Steampunk. Thrashing guitars and the vocal throttling of their lead singer bring back memories of classic punk 70’s-80’s bands and the harder edges of present day groups such as Green Day and Nine Inch Nails. Double Negative is stuffed with delicious black humour that grinds against the Victorian reputation of etiquette and morals. You also get to learn something new about history. Infotainment.
If you like to thrash with your steampunk, this is the music for you.