Birkenhead's realest and most rambling rock band, Half Man Half Biscuit, occasionally creak out of the woodwork to throw sporadic new tunes and records our way. 'Urge For Offal' is one such moment, a completely spur-of-the-moment record that continues the band's tongue-in-cheek and delightfully surreal take on post-punk.
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Ah a new record from everyone’s favourite comic Merseysiders Half Man Half Biscuit. One of my greatest nights out of recent years was seeing this lot in Blackburn Town Hall. A venue so sophisticated that I was refused a glass of tap water as according to the barman I “wouldn’t want to drink it”. Aah the beautiful sparkling healthy springwater…..
Anyway this is their latest offering and, a little like The Fall, there’s very little pattern to Half Man Half Biscuit albums, you either get a good one or you don’t. You take what you get, basically. Opener ‘Westward Ho!-Massive Letdown’ is anything but a letdown. A corking singalong about a mildly disappointing trip to a southern ‘blue flag’ resort where the protagonist takes his lady for a cream tea but ends up lamenting the holiday when his girl gets married to “a plasterer from Bacup”. Its full of the usual social observation and comic asides but it’s when the music excels that it really comes into it’s own. ‘Baguette Dilemma For the Booker Prize Guy’ is absolutely brilliant - a searing savage angular piece of post punk. They’ve rarely sounded this lively. “Morrissey singing about football” said our Kim at one point before realising who it was on the stereo making her giggle.
Like all Half Man Half Biscuit records the quality of songwriting varies but there’s enough good stuff to keep the home fires burning. “The Bane of Constance” is a rollicking punk number with slashing guitars and a chorus which reveals that “Midge Ure Looks like a Milk Thief . It can get a bit pub rock in places but I’ll forgive it all for the odd English folk fayre of ‘Adam Boyle Has Cast Lad Rock Aside’ and the closing one two of the ‘National Shite Day’-esque ramblings of ‘The Unfortunate Gwatkin’ and the ace melancholic strummings of closer ‘Mileage Chart’. Nice gritty production on this too.
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- Urge For Offal by Half Man Half Biscuit
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