Half Man Half Biscuit - Back In The D.h.s.s.
Half Man Half Biscuit is a post-punk group that absolutely refuses to take itself seriously, and Back In The D.H.S.S. is their first full-length release. Consisting of Nigel Blackwell (Vocals, Guitar), Neil Crossley (Bass), Simon Blackwell (Lead Guitar), Paul Wright (Drums), and David Lloyd (Keyboard), the band lampoons plenty of English celebrities I'd never heard of, like Bob Todd and Fred Titmus.
This album makes me laugh pretty hard. It's completely and utterly ridiculous. Nigel Blackwell writes lyrics like:"Oh I was walking round my local store
I was searching for the ten pence off Lenor
When suddenly I bumped into this guy
On seeing who it was I gave a cry
'Fuckin' ‘Ell, It's Fred Titmus!'"
After I did the research, I discovered that Fred Titmus was a cricket player who had played for about five decades. The entire album is chock-full of references like this, ninety percent of which I'm sure passed me right by. Other highlights on the album included 99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd (Bob Todd was a comic actor, often working as a straight man for Benny Hill and Spike Milligan), and The Len Ganley Stance (Len Ganley was a snooker referee).
Musically, the album is fairly weak. The musicians have some talent, and it comes out the songs previously mentioned, but for most of the album it sounds as though they didn't care enough to bring that talent to each recording. It's understandable and forgivable, though, being the first recording in a rather under-furnished studio. In addition to the flat music, there are some tracks that are just too odd for words, like Time Flys By (When You're The Driver Of A Train) and I Love You Because (You Look Like Jim Reeves) -- Writer of songs such as Silver Bells and Blue Christmas.
All told, Back In The D.H.S.S. has a great amount of silliness, which can be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the musicianship of Half Man Half Biscuit falls short, and might make this album difficult to listen to. I enjoyed reading about the characters mentioned in the songs more than I enjoyed listening to most of them, and that's not something that should ever happen. Don't let this album prevent you from checking out the band, though. I promise you I've peeked ahead and there is better stuff to come.
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