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The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing – The Gin Song / Third Class Coffin

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TMTWNBBFN - The Gin Song - Third Class CoffinHi there. I have some shocking news for you. You ready? Hogarth was wrong. HOGARTH. WAS. MOTHERFUCKIN’. WRONG. Yup. You heard right. Hogarth, with his celebrated piece of anti-gin propaganda, Gin Lane, was utterly wrong. (He was, however, right when it came to its companion piece, the pro-beer Beer Street, but that’s not really relevant here. I’m all about the Hogarthian WRONG). Gin, far from being a terrible scourge on health and society, is in fact a rather lovely scourge on health and society. Also, nobody in Gin Lane is wearing a Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing T-shirt. Which they really should be. For “gin”, as The Men tell us on their new single, “is the tonic to cure all your woes”.

“The Gin Song” is a rocking, rolling, rollicking little number (this sentence was brought to you largely by the letters R, C, L and K), with a singalong chorus which degenerates into a shoutalong chorus, punctuated by drinkalong verses. And it’s really rather wonderful. It’s been a firm favourite at their recent gigs, and the recorded version is suitably chunky, and goes well with a slice of lime. Just DON’T LET GO OF THAT FUCKING BAB- oh. Oh well. Have another gin.

Hogarth - Gin Lane (wrong)Things take a more serious (though equally rockin’) turn on “Third Class Coffin,” which does a rather neat trick (which The Men are becoming quite adept at these days) of actually using the potential of steampunk as a musical genre to do what so much literary and subcultural steampunk doesn’t bother to (usually because it’s too busy unironically celebrating the British Empire, which is a bit cock, really- obviously, as with most things, there are exceptions), which is to look at the present through the eyes of the past and hold a mirror up to society. Or, to put it in a snappier and less up-my-own-arse sort of way, it’s a song about how the poor were treated like shit back in the day (in this instance by being denied a proper send-off). As they are now. Which is where the “punk” comes in. It’s chunky, it’s angry, and it’s quite possibly one of the best songs they’ve done thus far. “I’m a third class citizen even when I’m dead” chants Andy Heintz, and it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that the only thing really separating street-level Victorian squalor from the Tory present is the size of the hats.

But if all that’s a bit gloomy, it’s also awesome to mosh to. Yet more evidence that even if The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing weren’t the only steampunk band to remember the “punk” part, they’d almost certainly still be the best.

-Justin Farrington-

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