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
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"
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.