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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Business as usual for Nigel & Co.
After the success (of sorts) of their last album, "Achtung Bono" - the first since their indie days of jangly guitars, wasp-buzz synth & "All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit" to get mainstream acclaim (ie. "The Guardian", etc. remembered they existed)- it was always going to be a hard act for Voldermort lookalike Nigel Blackwell & his cohorts to...
Published on 12 May 2008 by M. Boyle

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8 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Addition to the HMHB catalogue
Nigel Blackwell is one of the funniest and most trenchant lyricists around, who has written some fantastic songs in the past. So it gives me no pleasure to say that the latest offering from HMHB is well below the high standards we've come to expect.

The targets of the Blackwell ire are, on this aibum, mainly predictable and, what's worse, not very funny, "Blue...
Published on 22 Jun 2008 by S Jones


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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Business as usual for Nigel & Co., 12 May 2008
This review is from: CSI: Ambleside (Audio CD)
After the success (of sorts) of their last album, "Achtung Bono" - the first since their indie days of jangly guitars, wasp-buzz synth & "All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit" to get mainstream acclaim (ie. "The Guardian", etc. remembered they existed)- it was always going to be a hard act for Voldermort lookalike Nigel Blackwell & his cohorts to follow.

Matters were not helped by such distractions as one so-called fan who thought she'd a God given right to sell bootlegs of any unreleased material on the net (said fan is now "helping the police with their enquiries", after discovering ripping off HMHB is one thing, ripping off the BBC with their heavy duty legal team is quite another...); and niggles over a still unreleased compilation of promo videos & live clips.

As such, one or two tracks have the feel of being rushed out to get the album ready for the deadline or been altered for the sake of sounding different to the bootlegged versions, in particular "Blue Badge Abuser" & "Totnes Bickering Fair", which sound like demos.

The album also suffers from its running order somewhat, and takes a few more listens than normal, although several tracks jump out as favourites from the outset, such as the singalong "Bad Losers On Yahoo Chess", "On The Roids" (containing the knockout line "His paranoia is absurd - 'Are you THINKING about my bird?') & "Petty Sessions" (the latter being the Hokey Cokey set to atypical Biccie lyrical silliness - "I stick my big nose in - when I go out...I like an altercation with a member of staff - 'That was a 10 note!'").

The opening "Evening Of Swing (Has Been Cancelled)" and later "Lord Hereford's Knob" are natural continuations of the pub'n'folk rock feel of the last album, but "Took Problem Chimp To Ideal Home Show" with its funky bass & Trio-esque Casio organ certainly throws a star-spangled spanner in the works. One of the more strangely addictive songs from the album.

The pedestrian "Ode To Joyce" (Grenfell?) may please the villagers of Lochwinnoch to see their world famous (but now closed) Krystal Klear soft drinks factory receive a name drop, although the owners of The Priest Hole restaurant in Ambleside adorning the album cover were less amused at the free advertising ("they might have used a new photo!" they moaned when put - literally - in the picture).

The final track, clocking in at over 6 minutes, sounds suspiciously similar to the Pixies "Bone Machine", but is less an excuse for catnip induced sounding insanity that one of Nigel's acclaimed thoughtstreams on Life, The Universe, and a Man With A Mullet Going Mad With A Mallet In 'Millets' - the latter one of the frequent hill-walking references most HMHB albums tend to have these days.

Which begs the question. If buttock-cheek clenchingly bad Celtic or Country & Western artists can be bought in all not-so-good record shops and woollen mills, why isn't the HMHB back catalogue available next to the Kendal Mint Cake in Outdoor stores? Answer that and you could win a cruise, especially if you enter a contest where a cruise is the prize. Otherwise, enjoy the latest round of gentle cynicism & grumpiness from one of England's finest treasures.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not long now until lollipop men are called Darren, 28 April 2008
By 
This review is from: CSI: Ambleside (Audio CD)
I've been an on and off Half Man Half Biscuit fan for a long time but have found my interest waning once or twice over the past few years. This, however, is superb and is by far the best thing they've done probably since 'This Leaden Pall' - the songs are catchy all the way through - the band sound alive and angry and Nigel Blackwell has never sounded more pissed off. Its brilliant. The songs find their way into your head and spin around there for days. Its the lyrics that set HMHB apart from almost any other band in history. They are constantly incisive, at times wistful and always very very funny. The more you play it the more classic lines appear seemingly out of nowhere - such as "If you look carefully in the background to The Scream, the couple on the bridge are both Robson Green"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've laughed..., 19 Feb 2013
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This review is from: CSI: Ambleside (Audio CD)
...more times at the genius lyrics of National Shite Day than I have in the entire history of ITV's comedy output. As others have said, almost everything they've done is wonderful, literally belly-laugh out loud at times but this is in no way a comedy band. This is seriously good (Fall-like) music, massively enhanced if you take a bit of time to listen to the lyrics. There's a fantastic site where you can see them all...The Half Man Half Biscuit Lyrics Project.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slowly building my back catalogue, 19 Feb 2013
By 
Mr. Patrick Willard "Kid dad" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: CSI: Ambleside (MP3 Download)
Getting there!

This is a must for HMHB fans.

Too many great tracks to mention so just dive on in and enjoy
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HMHB - aural gold, 7 Nov 2012
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This review is from: CSI: Ambleside (MP3 Download)
\csi \ambleside. My second HMHB album. It lives up to my expectations. The witty narratives underpinning the deceptively basic guitar and drum music. Don't be fooled by the music. It may sound like any old pub band but lisen to the lyrics - aural gold.
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8 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Addition to the HMHB catalogue, 22 Jun 2008
By 
S Jones (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: CSI: Ambleside (Audio CD)
Nigel Blackwell is one of the funniest and most trenchant lyricists around, who has written some fantastic songs in the past. So it gives me no pleasure to say that the latest offering from HMHB is well below the high standards we've come to expect.

The targets of the Blackwell ire are, on this aibum, mainly predictable and, what's worse, not very funny, "Blue Badge Abuser" and "Totnes Bickering Fair" being particular examples. "King Of Hi-Vis" takes an idea that Stuart Maconie did in a more amusing way in his recent "Pies and Prejudice" book, while "Took Problem Chimp to Ideal Home Show" has a more amusing title than song.

That's not to say everything is poor. In a pop world full of drug related songs, I can't think of another that deals with steroid abuse ("He's On The 'Roids"), while "Lord Hereford's Knob" combines an attack on gentrification with a level of innuendo not heard since the Carry On movies.

The final track (whose title I can't mention or amazon won't publish the review) contains some classic Blackwell one-liners, but Nigel actually recognises the problem with this album he has when he sings (having moaned hilariously about lots of the little things that annoy us) "I tried to put everything into perspective...thought about the Mugabe government and the children of the Calcutta railways...but then I encounter Primark FM"

So overall, this really is an album for committed fans only. If you've never heard HMHB and want to find out why they have such a great critical reputation, you'd be better advised to check out one of their earlier efforts
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6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can hardly wait..., 30 Mar 2008
By 
This review is from: CSI: Ambleside (Audio CD)
With a track entitled Took Problem Chimp To Ideal Home Show you KNOW they ain't going to let us fans down - i'm laughing before i've even heard the song!
The wait between each release borders on unbearable but the product, when it eventually arrives, is always well worth the wait. Oddly enough my AOL profile lists CSI (with it's various 'cool' settings) as one of my hates... i used CSI: Barry Island months ago as a means for a dig. Trust this lot to go miles better and mock it with absolute perfection. Lovely stuff!

I'm as excited as an escapee dog at a funfair. (twiddling my thumbs)

Soooooooo...

I managed to get this Friday and i've not had it off since (the CD that is).

The latest opus contains everything you've come to expect and love from the band, and yet more! Evening Of Swing sounds rather Smiths-esque and is a very suitable opener, Lord Hereford's Knob isn't as naughty as you'd expect (shame on you if you didn't know or you haven't googled it out of curiosity) and things are rounded off with what will surely become a chant-a-long live favourite with a rather nice Velvety Undergroundy vibe. (tut! who says vibe these days?) Nice to hear Phil Cool get a mention too... so much 'talent' that's been rather ignored for at least two decades, time really does fly by. All the stuff inbetween is, of course, rather pleasant too.
I laughed loudly many times - Problem Chimp ("Llewellyn Bowen, two Carols, go on Bobby, both barrels"), Little In The Way Of Sunshine ("I was 'Mr Wet Underpants' in '89, titled by accident more than design"), On The 'Roids ("His paranoia is absurd - are you thinking about my bird?")
The insert contains the usual 'forthcoming releases'.. my fave this time is Pam Ayres 'Orses, a pastiche of the Patti Smith album.

It goes without saying that no HMHB fan will be disappointed... we know they always deliver the goods with suitable aplomb (it's not just on commentaries then). Top notch stuff which may even appeal to a wider audience than usual as it all sounds rather blinking professional!

I tend to disagree with another reviewer here... Nigel doesn't sound so pissed off this time around. His anger is far more obvious on several tracks on This Leaden Pall and Cammel Laird, for example. Sure the usual Blackwell hallmarks are here but they're presented in a way that's more akin to tutting rather than shouting.

I've kept it short as i'm off to play Nigel at Yahoo Chess, of course i will sign off immediately if he beats me. Good game Sir!
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5 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On what we've heard so far..., 11 April 2008
By 
This review is from: CSI: Ambleside (Audio CD)
...on the two BBC sessions, it's going to be great. There are lyrics to two of the songs on The Half Man Half Biscuit Lyrics Project (Google it) and I'll try to get the rest up as soon as I can!
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good - not half!, 22 Oct 2010
This review is from: CSI: Ambleside (Audio CD)
I bought this as a gift and my partner loves it. So much so we are now going to see them perform in February 2011.
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3 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just buy it, 2 April 2008
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This review is from: CSI: Ambleside (Audio CD)
Its great reviewing a product thats not out, but the cover looks good.
Actually I have heard some of these tracks - Totnes Bickering Fair was on Radio 6 the other day - its very good, even my wife enjoyed it (I saved the HMHB interview on Sky and played it every now and again).
You cant really go wrong with these guys, they should be so much more popular, I suppose we have the mass media and the mainstream music industry to thank for that. Still, anyone can buy this, and you all should. Take a chance, leave off buying a hyped band and treat your ears to something very special.
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CSI: Ambleside
CSI: Ambleside by Half Man Half Biscuit
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