The voice at the album's start is Jack Howarth, taken from his 1971 recording of Lancastrian monologues "'Ow Do". The mispronounced album name would later be used in fusion with Thee Headcoats name as the Japanese band name Thee Michelle Gun Elephant by their former bassist.
AllMusic's retrospective review reported that when it was released, Machine Gun Etiquette was "deservedly hailed as another classic from the band". The website praised the variety of styles explored and the group's typically strong wit. Scott Rowley of Classic Rock magazine, reviewing the 25th Anniversary Edition of the album, defines it "a riotous, ballsy rush of an album [...] the sound of a band coming into its own", adding that "while the Clash looked to America for inspiration, the Damned remained resolutely British", perhaps ironically given that the front cover sees the band in a New York street scene..