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- CSI: Ambleside by Half Man Half Biscuit
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Its worth buying for that title alone. Always one of my favourite bands but the last few years have seen Half Man Half Biscuit slide a little too far into a kind of safe post punk version of Grumpy Old Men. The quirky Fall like rhythms being replaced by a kind of uninspired pub rock. CSI Ambleside however sees them raise their game musically and lyrically almost up to the standards of those classic first few albums. It seems that the horrific state we find ourselves in England has sharpened Nigel Blackwells tongue and he sounds genuinely angry again........and very very funny. 'Totnes Bickering Fair' finds Blackwell railing against the middle classes and threatening to feed his children non organic food whilst admitting he'd prefer a suntan to Vashti Bunyan whilst 'Little in the way of Sunshine' parodies the kind of bleak defeatism heard in office workers throughout the land with the singer boasting "I was 'Mr Wet Underpants' in '89, titled by accident more than design..." The album does sag a little in the middle with maybe a few too many predictable singalong choruses but there's at least 6 songs on here constantly whirring through my head and plenty of acute observations to re-tell down the pub pretending you'd thought of them.
The best is saved til last however with the churning Fall riffs of 'National Shite Day'. The first two verses are a perfect summing up of your average day in England in 2008, trains not turning up, bus replacement services breaking down, bleak shopping centres, fat kids with sausage rolls, culminating in "a man with a mullet going mad with a mallet in Millets...".
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