In one of the occasional ‘best albums in the world…ever’ poll that music magazines often run, it’s unlikely you’ll find the Bloodhound Gang nestling in amongst Radiohead, The Beatles and Pink Floyd. Big dumb songs with juvenile lyrics tend not to rock serious critic’s boats.
For all the sniggering lyrics and deliberately dumb songs, it can’t be denied that the Bloodhound Gang have a certain charm. Hooray For Boobies, their most commercially successful release, is a perfect album to put on when your brain’s in neutral, and their big hit The Bad Touch is a classic of its kind – where else can you find a song with the lyrics “we’ll do it doggy style so we can both watch X-Files“?
Any fears that Hefty Fine may be the moment that The Bloodhound Gang ‘go serious’ are dispelled from the moment you see the front cover. A huge, naked man, looking rather like a cross between darts player Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor and comedian Phil Jupitus, crouched in a crate and staring at the camera with a deadpan expression means that it’s business as usual for Jimmy Pop and the gang.
The single Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo gives a fair idea of what to expect lyrically – it’s basically a collection of impressive euphemisms for having sex (“marinate the nether rod in the squish mitten” and “vulcanise the whoopee stick in the ham wallet” to name but two), and although it’s ridiculously childish, it’s hard not to admire the sheer invention at work. It helps that the song itself is as catchy as hell, meaning that you’re singing along with the acronym of the title long before the song’s finished.
The music swings between the hard rock of the opening Balls Out and the dancey synth pop of Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss. The latter is where the Bloodhound Gang may find the best chance of commercial success – it may have sounded horrendously dated a few years ago, but after the success of The Bravery and The Killers it now sounds positively commercial. It’s just a shame that the lyrics make Pop (heading towards his mid-thirties now, lest we forget) sound like an oversexed schoolboy.
And there’s the rub – the sad truth is that the whole joke about the Bloodhound Gang is wearing a bit thin. There’s only so many years you can push the shtick about being overgrown horny teenagers, especially when you become twice as old as your target audience. When the tiresome Bam Magera is employed to star in your videos (and record a secret hidden track here), you know you’re on dodgy ground.
Jackass in particular sounds horrendously dated. Overlooking the fact that it’s named after a TV show which hit its peak over three years ago, it also mentions The Spice Girls, and MTV’s The Real World – subjects that, in pop culture terms, are almost ancient history. You can almost imagine the 14 year old boy scratching his head as he reads the lyrics.
Although there are some good moments here – Pennsylvania sounds like the best song Weezer never wrote, while it’s always nice to see Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons receive a lyrical namecheck, never mind have a whole song named after him – this does have the air of one last hurrah before the band call it a day. The kids have moved on, and it’s about time the Bloodhound Gang did as well.