House Band For Hades

Britain's Fifty Tons of Black Terror (known formerly as Penthouse) are

a band truly untouched by the secular Calvinism of today's dominant

middle-class society. Here is a group that knows that if you ain't lucky

enough to have been born an aristocrat, there's nothing preventing you

from acting the part anyway — at least the hedonistic, ne'er-do-well

part. Fifty Tons are working class types who revel in the rejection of

the work ethic, blokes who luxuriate in the joys of sloth, wastefully

ruinous kicks and thrill-of-the-minute distractions — a philosophy

best summed up in the title of one of the finer moments on this, their

sophomore platter of splatter: "Beautiful Be the Indolent" (RealAudio

excerpt).

As a follow-up to 1998's gruesomely grand Demeter, My Idle Hands

doesn't disappoint as it further makes the case for Fifty Tons as the

leading contenders for the House Band in Hades. For newcomers to the

group's peculiar brand of musical brutality, think the Gun Club crossed

with the Birthday Party crossed with the Cramps, with just a tad Jon

Spencer Blues Explosion on the side. Giving new meaning to the term "wall

of sound," Fifty Tons mix loping, metallic death-funk ("Creeper's Reef"

[RealAudio

excerpt]) with kaleidoscopic lyrics depicting the more, ahhh,

messy side of nature, both human and otherwise. Take "Valley of

the Sows," which features splattershot images of a gluttonous, greasy

orgy over the carcass of a roasted pig ("Just who are sows?," you might

appropriately ask). Or How 'bout "Petit Sang (Little Blood)," wherein a

mad butcher doesn't distinguish between the humans and the other animals.

For a little change-of-pace, Fifty Tons also throw in "The Pool at Blood

Gully" (RealAudio excerpt), a smoldering Morricone-styled

number that recalls the similar meanderings of the Dirty Three and the

Bad Seeds with its rather ripe air of beer-sodden, 3 a.m. ennui.

My Idle Hands thus suggests an experience far beyond the realm of

today's backward-ball-hat middle-class white boys and their sports-metal

stylings. Here is the libidinous, deranged, no-future 'tude of the lower

classes from which Elvis sprang: punk without the intellectual overlay

of situational politics to defang it. It's good the way Ace of Spades

and Highway to Hell are good: finger-biting good, you might say.