Highlights: This One’s For Now, My Outstretched Arms, Stuck Up A Hornbeam, The Unfortunate Gwatkin
Thank God for Half Man Half Biscuit.
As soon as I did the right thing and acquired this album (in fact, every human being with a shred of taste should do likewise), I then acted irresponsibly and gave these thirteen new songs a quick ten-second run-through. And while what I heard certainly gave the impression of being what it really was, there was one particular track which was so good it stopped me in my silly little undertaking.
The name of this track was “The Unfortunate Gwatkin”. Indeed, some of the more knowledgeable and experienced of us might find certain similarities between this song and Danny & Dusty’s classic “Song For The Dreamers” from 1985, but that would be extremely short-sighted of them. This unfortunate paradox may initially seem rather frustrating, but wait till you hear the tragic yet somehow humorous story of the unfortunate Gwatkin narrated here with such brutal intelligence and thuggish aplomb.
The groove itself is engaging in a way that is perhaps a little too much for the average listener raised in times being what they are. Each verse is stoically delivered and then followed by a swift jangle; after which the witty onslaught continues by way of such impressive lyrical jewels as ‘Pessimist Festival in Mollington’ and the like. The final verse, with its cleverly built up climax that is perhaps a little unexpected in that classic twist-in-the-tail fashion, is quickly dispensed with to give way to a change of the rhythmic pattern unleashing the deeply passionate chant that may frustrate housewives and children under thirteen but will surely provide lots of pleasure for the better representatives of the human race.