Who wants thirty seven minutes of pleasure? If you answered yes then get this album. If you listen to it you’ll spend a full thirty eight minutes in a world of adventure, tapping your feet and nodding your head (this is one minute longer than the album because you’ll start tapping/nodding 30 seconds into the album when you realise you’ve got your hands on something good and then you’ll continue for 30 seconds after because you won’t want it to be over).
This is a thigh slapping, towel flicking musical escapade. It’s like listening to a slightly camp Memoriam. It’s got vocals so rousing you might want a cushion in your lap (with a skull and crossbones on obviously, only the manliest of soft furnishings will do).
I got the CD of this because I like having something tangible I can hold in my hand. The tracks are numbered with roman numerals which are very classy. The Rocky films had them and they hang about on posh wooden clocks. I once walked past a house where they’d done their wheelie bin numbers in roman numerals, which frankly is weird. Anyway, I’m going to guide you through A Collection Of Short Stories For Boys track by track.
Track I – All Skull – Take a big pile of Indiana Jones and stir in a spoonful of Carry On Behind!
Track II – The Beatings Will Continue – Notable lyric “There is a sign in the dark”, so let’s hope the dark isn’t pitch black, or we might not see the sign, unless it’s some sort of illuminated sign, it’s not clear. This track ends with “Heroic deeds and fallen steeds, remembered for all time” and you feel a bit sad, like at the funeral for a neighbour’s hamster.
Track III – Chapter II – This is confusingly named. It starts with a sample saying “You’re in this man’s shoes, you’re ready but you’ve never faced enemy fire, this is the real stuff” and it reminds me a bit of the scene in The Office when Tim and Dawn are asking Gareth about being in the Territorial Army. It has great use of samples throughout.
Track IV – Frotting the Fallen – Notable lyric “Neptune’s vengeance, none are spared!” Yoicks. Peril. Lots of shouting “Die!” Neptune’s a watery so and so, isn’t he? You could do a slow windmill headbang to the chorus of this one.
Track V – Pirates – It’s taken me a long time to understand the appeal of pirates. They’re basically burglars at sea taking style inspiration from Keith Richards. Anyway, now I finally understand the fascination, thanks to The Crushing, because it sounds like a jolly exciting life if this song is to be believed. The chorus, with its repetition of “Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest” puzzled me for a while. How big is this deceased gent’s chest that it can accommodate fifteen men upon it? I could only assume that the men were are stacked up in some sort of pyramid, with maybe six men each with one foot on the dead man’s chest, then each of these men is giving a piggy back to another man, making technically twelve men on a dead man’s chest and then the final three men, (chosen for being slender and acrobatic), climb up and stand on the shoulders of the men being given a piggy back, and by this procedure you’ve got fifteen men stacked up on a dead man’s chest (and also quite a good act for Britain’s Got Talent).
But it’s not that.
I had to go to the library to get an answer to this (on the way I wondered if The Crushing will ever do a song about the excitement of working in a library?) In Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island he makes mention of “Fifteen men on a Dead Man’s Chest”. So here’s our source material. I then had to go to the internet, where it was revealed that Dead Mans Chest is an island in the British Virgin Islands that people get left on for being bad, like a pirate naughty step*.
Track VI – Ripperdance – This is like a groovy version of Entombed’s “Blood Song”.
Track VII – Vikings – This is a song to plait your beard to. Notable lyric “Are these men or demons?” Vikings stopped in about 1066 but their popularity hasn’t waned because they are very exciting. I like to think Vikings used the chat up line “Have you got a bit of viking in you?” No? “Well would you like a bit”. Very strong guitar in this song. Reminds me a bit of the band Skyclad.
Track VIII – Whiskey. This is a love letter to one of the manliest tipples there is. My fave lyrics are “World swims in amber mist, don’t make sense ‘til I’m pissed”. We’ve all had days like that. I also enjoyed “Some folk like rosé, that ain’t fuckin’ right”. It’s only a matter of time before the Whisky Marketing Board adopt this as their anthem.
And there ends the album. The CD is a lovely package, it looks like it an olden days book and as if it could contain treasure maps and recipes for curing syphilis. The pained images of The Crushing contained within look like it’s been quite a journey from original idea to the realisation of this project. Either that or their undies have been shrunk by seawater. It feels like a concept album, a Choose Your Own Adventure book set to music. The Crushing describe their interests as Finger Painting, Frotting, Gun kissing & Pelvic thrusting and this comes across in their music.
I’ll leave you with a motivating lyric from Pirates; “C’mon lads, last one to shore gets a taste of the lash!”