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This Leaden Pall

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Album Review

Following the somewhat shaky McIntyre, Treadmore & Davitt, This Leaden Pall is a much more self-assured transition into the new era of Half Man Half Biscuit. Keeping the more reflective sound of its predecessor, This Leaden Pall is less afraid to refer back to the band's brasher early releases: the refreshingly punky "Running Order Squabblefest" is a hilarious depiction of the backstage sniping at an '80s-vintage festival gig, culminating in the brilliant chant "You're going on after Crispy Ambulance," neatly namechecking both the third-string Factory Records doom merchants and a highly popular (and profane) football terrace chant. '80s pop/rock is a through line in this album, as a matter of fact, from the acid portrait of a hopeless art school trendoid "4AD3DCD" and the self-explanatory "13 Eurogoths Floating in the Dead Sea" to the Kate Bush and U2 references in "Whit Week Malarkey" and the NWOBHM shout-outs in the deeply ironic trucker's boogie opener "M6-Ster." At the same time, leader Simon Blackwell continues his newfound sense of empathy for his kitchen-sink characters on the genuinely mopey "Whiteness, Thy Name Is Meltonian," which is about as wistful as a song named after a brand of shoe polish can get. All this and the hilariously mean spirited "Improv Workshop Mimeshow Gobshite" too!


Formed: 1984

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

The acerbic post-punk outfit Half Man Half Biscuit was formed in Birkenhead, England in 1984 by singer/guitarist Nigel Blackwell, his guitarist brother Si, bassist Neil Crossley and drummer Paul Wright. While still languishing in relative obscurity, in 1985 they entered the studio to record their debut LP, Back in the D.H.S.S.; upon its release, the album became a favorite of DJ John Peel, and seemingly overnight Half Man Half Biscuit became stars of the British independent music scene. The album...
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This Leaden Pall, Half Man Half Biscuit
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