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, they entered the studio in 1985 to record their debut LP, Back in the D.H.S.S. Upon its release, the five-piece swiftly became known for their razor-sharp, biting, lyrical content, and they also earned the endorsement of venerable DJ John Peel. The album quickly grabbed the top spot on the U.K. indie charts, and eventually ranked as the best-selling independent record of 1986. It was a work that showcased their ability to sing about social problems, like unemployment, under a veil of barbed humor.
A 1986 EP, Trumpton Riots, followed Back in the D.H.S.S. to number one, but Half Man Half Biscuit shunned the spotlight; they refused several offers to perform on TV, and while enjoying a major hit with the single "Dickie Davies' Eyes," announced their breakup in the autumn of 1986. A collection of B-sides and unreleased material, Back Again in the D.H.S.S., followed a year later; finally, in 1990, the Blackwell brothers and Crossley re-formed the band, issuing the LP McIntyre, Treadmore & Davitt in 1991. However, the next album, This Leaden Pall, saw the departure of Wright and Lloyd; Blackwell's brother Simon left the following year. Carl Alty joined the band on drums, along with Ian S. Jackson. Both eventually left in 1996 to be replaced by Carl Henry on drums and Ken Hancock on guitar.
Following the lineup changes, the ensuing period proved to be stable and productive for the band. After their brief breakup and re-formation, they continued to produce new records every couple of years or so. 2016 saw the release of a collection called And Some Fell on Stony Ground, which was composed of non-album tracks, B-sides, and EP releases. Much like previous Half Man Half Biscuit recordings, it mixed humor and bleakness in equal measure. ~ Jason Ankeny