CD REVIEWS (Guest Reviewers) Page 3


Young punks, you don’t have to be a veteran to have talent, guts, ‘n heart.  Middle Finger Salutes to modern street punk.  All about fun, they manage to have pulled from musical influences, bringing with them the maximum energy of youth while playing in some of the biggest arenas in the UK.  Their new CD, ‘What We Live For,” has all the elements of street punk with mustered-up defiance and makes the best out of what’s put in front of them. 

Check it out-the first song, ‘All The Way,’ infrastructures in Danny’s condensed guitar staccato's, emphasizing on the beat.  With Jonny’s bass-leads, the chorus sing-a-longs has subtle higher harmonies that float slightly under Calum’s lead-vocal crooning.  The tune breaks down to the ground with an urgency in added fuzz-chords that reminds me of the sapling band, ‘Speeding Bee,’ but with more grit you would find in such bands as The Strawberry Blondes.  This song delivers all the way to a skid-hault.

Another stand-out, ‘Heroes Are Dead,’ renders in ska-form, complete with accapella signature-guitar strums along a groove, but then is ripped out of its roots by one screaming guitar note.  Calum gravels out a Brit slice ‘em-dice ‘em vocal as the chorus goes big with harmonies adding in a balanced element of fluidity amongst the fuzz chords.  Closing in on Calum’s gutteral drawn-out vocal message, Marsy’s prevalent rat-a-tat drum grooves into the beat and melody.

Beefy-bass holds up the song, ‘Moss Man.’  Someone must have smashed the DNA of Rancid and The Clash into Calum’s body, because his sharp monotoned venom reminisces quite nicely of these two great vocalists.  Bouncing in the street punk and ska influences, the higher harmonies coat the quoted, ‘Oingo Boingo’ title, ‘I’m Not Your Slave,’, into a round-about accapella that somehow turns for a stumble into a drunken-slow odd-beated rock ‘n roll twindle.  Unhinging it morphs into a stint of blues.   A nice touch.

The catchy palpitating tune, ‘What We Live For,’ plods in a faster, bouncier cadence than the rest.  Spitting out the spunky chorus of ‘na-na-na’s,’  the song evolves into a crescendoing tag of three-crashes on the beat.  Overlapping on a lower registered chorus, there is, at last, closure as the finale surges in, ‘This is What We Live For.’ 

Not bad for a bunch of young bucks who have just started at the opening gate.  Like finding a $10 bill on the sidewalk, it will make you want to spend it on this CD.

[note:  Thanx Danny and the rest of MFS for pushing things through.]

Review by Jillian Abbene



Scotland’s rugged terrain perhaps has instilled fortitude upon the 4 Past Midnight crew.  No doubt, fiercer than their previous CD, 'Trials & Tribulations', their prescription for deliberate fundamental 80’s punk is instinctually gruff.  Since they derived from that 80’s scene, innate elements are incorporated into their songs that can only be captured from that time, and they should know - they were there.

The opening recording in, ‘Only A Memory,’ is equated to the streets as 4PM delivers a steady groove of metal street punk within three-chorded guitar.  Pete, the lead vocalist, has vocals as sharp as glass that is all within the catchy gang vocal-shouts.  With the shift changes to a slower thud-drum-n-cymbal syncopation, it winds down as the dense beat repeats in hammering chords - all on the same note.  Ending in the raw and basic, the drum-thuds pushes it to the end.

With four tings on cymbal, staccato drums and sling-shot guitar plots to, ‘Fuck ‘em All.’  It’s all in classic oi, with conservative ‘hey-ho’s between streams of guitar.  Simultaneously, Pete croons on verse and is met by chorus woh’s.  It’s the drum and cymbal that spins into machine-gun mode, riding underneath Pete’s crooning.  In the chorus, it is joined by the 4 PM crew, ending in the eminent quickened pace of the drum and cymbals again, driven to a crash.

The expressive yet tearful intro in, ‘Going Underground,’ is a great sarcastic yet heart-felt narrative.  Its writhing metal chords burst in with a flick of a switch.  I like this song.  Two-times around, the drum pounds ride hard on the steady surge of guitar chords.  Further, it’s the gang-participated shouts, ‘no-no-no!’ the catchy chorus attached to Pete’s holding chorus that nicks the earlier influences of none other than Social Distortion.  The M8 balconies, the melody with additional triplicate drum rolls all on the syncopations, ending with fuelled guitar with the hold on the squeal - just in time to fade.

The bass chugs in with a crawl along with the high hat and drum pedal intro on, ‘4 PM Crew Part II.’  The hard-hitting beat and the steady tempo plods through the catchy, simple, yet spirited chorus.  This song should be hailed as the 4 PM crew anthem with a deserving applause.  Prevalent tinned-out guitar strokes is the framework in the rock ‘n roll spliced M8 as the last drum roll wraps it up with hard strokin’ chords and a bass scale of arpeggios that impresses with a complete crashed out ending.

In, ‘Waste Away,’ the solitary bass is alongside guitar strokes once again.  One clean guitar sear, sneers before the woh’s wind up the energy and hands it over to Pete.  Rattling staccatoed “heys” jot in between verse.  Bolstering to a split-second silencer, the M8 picks up the beat.  Chris’s accapella bass-crawl sets it up for Pete’s solo croon-out.  With intricate guitar twiddlings and a single guitar sear again, Pete closes it with machine-gun scratch verses ending it all on a high note.

Clearly, the fiercest song on the CD, ‘Solution To War,’ is deemed appropriate.  Slowly winding up for the punch with long guitar pulls, the drum pedal and bass twiddlings are the precursor to the steadfast double-speed barrage of Marky’s savage scratch guitar.  Here, Pete’s vocals are venomous.  Hardcore dirgier chords are slower with a groove that switches to repeat the first verse.  Outfitting raw energy, the starts/stops hold strong for the circle pit of non-stop brutality to the end.

Somber distorted piano notes trail through the opening recording - to only be hit twice with an onslaught of beat-on-guitar, and cannonballing to surging guitar and drum thuds.  Menacing guitar sears make way before it snaps back to the driving chords.  Before a reprieve of silence breaks, bass collides with hardcore thud-drums.  Pete’s voracious vocals are dead-on.  Shifting tempo from a groove to heart-pounding meta - all in that circle-pit pace.   

‘Gordon,’ is a charismatic unplugged drinking song that opens up to a pulsating street punk tune.  The time changes in the M8, then reduced to slower thumps, is inclusive with gang chorus just long enough to savor the biting lyrical content. Further, just as the listener retains the lyrics, the speed crashes at the cymbals.

The last song is the Ramones’ cover, ‘Pinhead,’ - my Ramones’ favorite.  Despite the guitars being a bit heavier than the original version, the opening reverberating lyrics, “D-U-M-B everyone’s accusing me…” is crystal clear.  Stripping the song down to a blitzkrieg of guitar power, the finale gabba-gabba-heys repeat magnificently, picking up speed to the end.

Struggling throughout the years to smash the listener’s ears of mainstream rock, 4 PM is determined not to be forgotten. With summer plans of touring the USA with The Angst, you better go pick up a copy of, ‘Guilty As Charged,’ on STP Records: or before they breeze right past your town.

Review by Jillian Abbene



Despite Argy Bargy’s debut in 1992, their sound truly can be defined more within the catacombs of old-school punk rock.   Unlike their past albums, their newest release, 'The Likes Of Us' separates their sound from their traditional Oi.  Dynamically driven, it’s within the street punk melodies and core rock essence that interlocks the human experience with versatility.   Each song feels complete and balanced—including the harmonies - just stellar!  It is true what I have read, and others have concluded—that they are a band that sounds like everybody, but nobody.  Their elements are unidentifiable yet new.  Since there is a lot to cover in this CD, let me get on with it...

‘Your Time Will Come,’ can almost be the intro to the CD song for just its short blast.  Listening at first, I thought they had gone hardcore.  However, as the beginning guitar squeals in between tribal drums along the long strokes of anger-gnarled filled guitar, Watford Jon’s guttural vocals are infallible. Synonymous, the vocals are of equal parts within the bombardment of guitar-slamming chords. The chorus is unbelievably catchy with its assaulting gang-vocals by the Bargettes [mates: Danny, Gaz and Les] who are all in tight composing glory - that comes off more of a campaign specifically created for the pit.  In a split-second reprieve, ‘Lights Over London,’ bleeds in, as a mid-tempoed number, but with less intensity.  The tinning guitar reminisces as a paying homage to London.  Here, Watford Jon’s vocals are more crooning and melodic; sandwiched in the guitar plucks. Daryl Smith (also guitarist, Cock Sparrer), adds his clean two-bit riff.  Hurdling an octave in two-part harmony initiatives, Daryl’s higher-registered vocals, places a sense of urgent-energy suspending from beginning to end.

With landscaping guitar chords, a deliberate shift replaces it with guitar arpeggios in, ‘There’s Gonna Be A Riot,’ stewing in heavier notes on the first and second verse.  Noted within the third and fourth verse of the meter, the lyrics are cleverly punctuated.  As the guitar blends into the background in a hum-fuzz of bass, the tempo slows to a ½ time, all leading up to the chorus declaration.  The M8 surfaces to solid rock ‘n' roll chords all swinging back to the first verse. The comeback in the form of a guitar scream joins along with the chorus.  You can even hear Dalb’s bass scales behind the melody.  Nice touch.  The intensity never leaves as the chorus repeats smashes into an all-instrument slamming pace at the end.

Opening with a hint of Clash elements, relenting lyrics, a solid pictorial story line, along with Jon’s guttural sharp vocals makes, ‘Right To Fight,’ is the fiercest song on the CD.  Although the beginning tweeters in the ’77 tinned-guitar melody, the first verse kicks into a faster tempo with Ray’s clean drum pangs.  Annexing with the shouted chorus, “Let’s Have It, Come On, Let’s Go… I’ve got a right to fight!” is the best line ever to be put to Oi lyrics!  The aggro quells to the bridge pulling along guitar pulls and syncopates to summoning drums with a heavy-crash landing.

Back to the fierceness… ‘My Life,’ has street punk and hints of Buzzcocks influences straight in the first verse, as bass scales are heard even through the projected angst-packed gang-chorus.  The bridge possesses a great woven guitar riff until the meter changes to a searing guitar crescendo and drums that crashes on the cymbal and rounds off the chorus one more time.  The psych-out repeat ends in a rapturing finality installment on the, “Fuck You.”

‘No News Is Good News,’ intersects with a more mellow Rancid influence.  A street-based mid-tempo melody is attached to wind milling guitar strums. The overlapping chorus with the roundabout backups remain consistent with the hollow guitar pluckings.  It is this leading solitary guitar riff that mellows out the ending.

Opening in guitar-chorded rock, ‘I Believe In You,’ jumps in head first with an assemblage of fast cadenced street punk and a kickin’ rock ‘n' roll screaming guitar melody.  In role reversal, the vocals switch with every other verse, as the drum and cymbal embody the syncopations.  The bridge delivery quiets the energy with lower registered drums and guitar. As the live chorus consumes the song in a unison chorus and Oi’s, an accelerated intensity is given to Daryl’s bloody-fast riff.  Splitting the tempo to a slow-down, the pursuit of melancholic cymbals crash-out this song.

Romping drums and guitar palpitates on the intro of, ‘Don’t Wanna Be Like You.’ Before picking up the lighter mid-tempo pace, the tuneful chorus-harmonies in high register has The Ramones plot wrapped in old-school flair.  The distinctive bridge in slow Ska with heavy classical guitar arpeggios, twiddles back to the catchy chorus line.  Ending with concise and even harmonies, the one guitar squeal attaches on the fade.

Opening in an acoustically driven intro, ‘One More Drink,’ fooled me at first.  Showcasing Jon’s cockney vocals all in a consistent melodic pace, a crescendo begins leading to a superb chorus line with embedded signature harmonies.  It’s the melody and lyrics that tells the story.  Smack dab in the middle on the bridge, the rock ‘n' roll Chuck Berry guitar lets it rip.  The ending vocal pleas from Jon in, “One More Drink,” and the clever chorus overlaps again in Daryl’s awesome higher-register harmonies delivering with the same fervor.  This is one of those memorable songs.

‘Can’t Take It Anymore,’ streams in with more of a fluid melody.  Behind the chords, you can faintly hear guitar squeals.  The syncopated chorus voicings on the woah’s carry the melody through the whole song.  The bridge links the guitar strums, and a single guitar sears all the way to a guitar riff - all within the same stride.  Switching, the tune splits to what could be a ‘70’s flashback’ of “The Byrds” styled harmonies.  However, it sounds remarkably cohesive yet the song doesn’t remain soft.  Jon makes sure his vocals are sharp and piercing, straight through the melody from beginning to end.

The self-entitled CD is the song, ‘The Likes of Us,’ which closes with a more raw and basic rock and roll platform.  Although the vocals are less melodic and more monotoned, the guitar riff, in tempo, shows Daryl’s ability to be the remaining true lead guitarist.  The guitar chords strum through, as the drum pangs inclusive to guitar squeals create the set up for the final ending.

I think it is the general consensus of most listeners that they are pleasantly surprised by, “='The Likes of Us.'  Like most bands that are fizzing out, it seems that Argy Bargy are just gaining momentum - which leads me to eagerly await their next album!  For me, the British term, ‘Argy Bargy’ is not just A British term - there is nothing trite here.  In fact, their delivery, higher-registered styled harmonies and tones are all wrapped up in a varied tie of musical influences that will create a hell of a new album.  

Review by Jillian Abbene



Faintest Idea’s ambitious goal to hitting every kind of punk there is, might just work.  The new CD entitled, ‘Put Your Mouth Where Your Money Is,’ taps into a crossover of tight old-school revisioned punk with aggressive Ska. Make no mistake, this band can draw a serious live crowd.  Jammed packed into 15 songs, there is something for every punk…from the street-punked catchy gang-chorus, to the hard-coring swirling speed of the circle-pit, even the skin-headed dance skanker can let loose in this unique form of syncopated Ska.  There simply is no excuse to not participate. 

Although it wasn’t until their second song’ ‘Acceptance,’ that I was able to wrap my head around the intensed fury of chorded-energy, a buzzing fast-beat of staccato horns and a single guitar scale sears just below the radar.  As the catchy tooted horns and sax themes move along Sam’s shouted vocal rasps, there is a join-in on the chorus:  “ACCEPT US NOW! No minds just like robots on a belt, ACCEPT US NOW!  Our words behind blinds doesn’t matter how their dealt, ACCEPT US NOW We need some respect to think and reflect, ACCEPT US NOW!  Every time we open mouths we alter dialect.”  The signature chorus back-up shouts play an important part in their sound - intercepting in conviction.  The fuzz-guitar blankets Stash’s [also in The Dead Pets and Acid Drop] trumpet-toot in melody, filling it between the undercurrent of drum syncopations.   Sax-and-horns meet again with the chorus blurps between verses.  The M8 accapella creates an outlet for the gang-chorus in just enough time to get in the last word. 

In that fuzzed-guitar fury, the sax holds the front-noted melody in, ‘United? Kingdom.’  Switching vocals, Dani’s shouts thread in blurted strategy all on the first verse.  Even with the fierced intensity of the guitar, there is a damned catchiness that is guaranteed to break out a ho-down in the circle pit.  Forcing his gravelly vocals thru verse all before the Oi’s (which is a part of their tempoed package) Sam allows room for the bridge to showcase the ever-reminding sax style of X-ray Spex’s frontwoman, Poly Styrene.  Within the rat-a-tat of snare drums, it’s the back-up vocals that emphasize each individual word, clearly punctuating a punch of passion with repeated conviction.
In a theatrical suave edge, it is Dani who opens with, ‘Easy Now Rude Boy,’ with joining Oi’s before the slide-in guitar sneer is altogether taken over by a barrage of hard-core guitar chords.  The chorus repeats of, ‘Easy Now Rude Boy,’ encapsulates all on queue—coupled with those little fits of syncopated drums, as the beat switches back to the danceable Ska beat.  It’s the sax and trumpet that strings the spurting tooted melody much like a party horn, from start to finish.

‘Not Tonight,’ slithers soulfully with sax, bass, and keyboards.  The keyboards add a sense of a fanfare carnival along side the Ska beat.  Although Dani’s verses are more croon than blurts, it smoothes over to an affective and sultry melody.  Noteably, it is the slithering sax that controls the melody.  Despite the bridge in a lower registry of blues-riff, it is clear that this song is a universal dance song.  The gang chorus and back-ups croon over the silky bass solo to a saxy ending.

‘Stand Tall,’ should be Faintest Idea’s motto and theme song.  The Ska guitar and sax melody layer all in the same mid-tempoed beat.  It isn’t until the second instrumental verse does Dani start to rattle off guttural cough-lyrics with the lightning speed of an auctioneer.  Alongside The Clash vein, this is a really great mix of punk in Ska.  The keyboard solo is added framework to the prideful lyrics ending in steady rooted Ska with a sax riff. 

‘See You In The Gutter,’ [also featured on the TNS CD], is a light-hearted melody with pockets of fuzzed chords and drum triplicates.  The M8 groove is ensued by a mayhem of hard-core cadence that weds in Sam’s piercing rock-n-roll guitar riff.  With its chorus-melody and sax, this song’s energy is the most identifiable of the tracks.  As an eventful drinking tune I’m sure, the audience will participate in this chorus.

Back within the steady mid-tempo, ‘Why Don’t Rich Kids Go To War,’ can have the Rancid stamp placed slightly to the left as they deliver with their own brand of frostbited Ska.   Sam adds more bark and bite on the more monotone verses as the chorus croons keeps the melody danceably noteworthy-even up to the midway bridge.  It’s here that there is a pace-change to a slower reggae beat with the drum lags. Just then, it is Sam who adds in his last gargled fightin’ words before the veer-off keyboard jam-crash.

In street punk fashion, ‘Rivers of Red,’ opens this time with Sam’s accapella verse—which by now, the listener instinctually recognizes that this is a just a precursor setup for a massive beating of banging guitar-chords.  The sax doesn’t add their two cents worth until the middle, leaving the track with more angst than fluff.  The guitar riff adds something fierce to the crash at the end.

There’s no question that Faintest Idea’s versatility and hyped-up ambitious Ska, steeping in tuneful angst, will surely be infectious enough to carry them anywhere and everywhere. 

Review by Jillian Abbene



Like a whore ready for a throw-down, I couldn’t wait to hear Goldblade’s newest CD entitled, ‘Mutiny,’ a band that gives licensure to nothing other than raucous fun.  From the first time I saw Goldblade in 2004 at a Washington DC venue, the room was only peppered with standbys.  However, I was still impressed with their chutzpah as they wowed everyone watching. Their grit and energy made me realize that they are a really awesome band.  That night, however, I asked myself, “Why is it that I have not known of Goldblade before?”  I discovered that like Goldblade, bands from overseas are not given the opportunity to break into the underground here in the USA so easily, and that the music market seems to only be interested in enticing bands with hand-outs to the shit sell-out bands rather than putting their money where their mouth is.  (That‘s another chapter).  If that’s the case, well this is a compliment to Goldblade, because they have made it on their own merit.  Matter of fact, it was their pioneering sounds that actually made me start scouting out punk bands expansively.  Their substance and fabric is the real deal.  

Goldblade have created a big following over the past few years - so big they have even made a name for themselves in Russia.  So it is no surprise that Goldblade would invite and incite a riot or two.  They challenge the listener to either cross the line or walk the plank - which leads me to their latest CD.  Their metaphorical pirate theme is a healthy reminder that punk rock doesn’t have to be so serious.  It’s all about beers, cheers and having fun.

So let me start off with the first song, ’Jukebox Generation.’  A thumping street-beat along a simplistic communal chorus, squeezes between the stabs of Johnny Skullknuckles’ rock ‘n roll riff.  Square in the M8, Sir Preacher John Robb fuels in an accapella testimonial verse in regards to the spirit of heroes that are long gone - all before the drum and bass catch up.  A burst of delightful searing guitar makes it to the end.

Steins are clanking in camaraderie as, ‘Mutiny,’ unites the collective commoner by way of a crowd-chorus. The sea-faring, hyped-up beat changes shift into side-saddling theatrical, pirated, ‘aaarrrggghhh’s,’ that seems humorous to me.  With Goldblade’s mission to scrutinize those who attempt to steal self-entitled camaraderie and throw them overboard, surely their live show is marked more as a ’born-again’ baptism than just a rock show.

Gutted, guitar spurts in, ‘Everybody’s On Drugs,’ has John Robb testifying the natures of drugs and how even the high profilers also dabble, yet shuffle the secret under the floorboards.  Pete’s pile-driving guitar is tucked underneath the guitar, as a neatly planted slag-riff makes room for the harmonious chorus.  Leading all the way to an explosive beat-on to a sneered pig-squeal, it still holds the framework to good ol’ rock and roll.

Tailored to American disciplinarians, JR’s preached-up sermons advocate political cynicism in, ‘America Destroys All Its Heroes.’  As grinding guitar is in time with Rob’s steady drums, the bridge shows off a different aspect - Johnny’s backwards guitar works/special effects.  Next is an intentional vocal roundabout that adds nice harmonies, and to top it off, a slanting into a faded and jaded, oh-so-familiar, ‘Star Spangled Banner.’ 

‘Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone,’ should be a hit single.  Keith’s chunked up syncopated bass along with screamin’ guitar, gallivants in double-time…and that’s just the intro.  As JR’s vocals puncture through the beefed-up beat, it all leads up to a fever-pitch guitar bridging the baptism between hyperventilating guitar chords and spoken word.   If you like that early punk sound, here it is.

Jumping into a full assault of rock ‘n roll in, ’Wake Up, You’re Already Dead,’ John is now guttural.  Landing with an odd-noted chorus inclusive of wolfing guitar-pulls, a low register of gang-chorus kicks up the cadence, with an intensifying wa-wa groove-jam.  This seems like a new sound from the rest of their songs;  however, the speed-up in guitar pulls ‘n screams stops the song long enough in its tracks to know their signature sound is in tact.  Accapella, John exclaims jumping in, ’Wake Up You’re Already Dead!’ setting  up what could be a live encore.

Fellow Americans heed the call.  Just because you, [munching on Cheetos, sitting on your duff, watching, ’Family Guy,’]  haven’t heard of these guys, doesn’t mean shit.  Trust me! Their live performances are electric, debaucherated punk rock.  Although I last saw them in DC in 2005, I myself have been christened as a Bladest, and have been following their blazoned path ever since. 

Review by Jillian Abbene



Despite The Scabs’ short history within the UK scene, their ‘77 sound doesn’t get stuck in a rut.  With varying styles from ‘70’s rock to American skater punk, they maintain within the healthy state of discontent.

Opening in tribal beats, a distinctive stream of tuneful guitar scratches foils above the chorus and song entitled, ‘This is England, [Fucked up].’  The accapella oi’s on the bridge has Steve on guitar in stutters and twiddles, and Geeza’s gutter-scratch barks in the chorus with:  “This is your England/They don’t give a shit about you and me/Stab us all in the back/We’re all shit/United Kingdom, United Kingdom of fuck all! /This country has gone to the dogs but it ain’t them getting fat/The one’s in power every fucking time/cos the man in the street/he’s just a fucking no one!” With lyrics like that, there is enough venom to declare this a bonafide boot-stompin’ ass-kickin’ song.

Cut to the quick.  In a higher-energy cadence, Geeza is wound up on the first note of, ‘Bastard.’  With a nice flair, the rock-’n-roll guitar riffs in before the second verse.  However, it is the middle section highlighting Mike’s solo bass-plunks coupling with the tuneful lead vocals that adds the punctuation mark at the end in the drawn-out chorus of, “I am a Bastard!”  There is enough stamped aggression in the song to make this song my favorite on the CD.

Now moving on - think 1985…old school Cali punk, and a cockney accent to distinguish in their lineage, adds as an interesting combo that develops in the sound.  Slow sludges, dirty dirges with a lurking bass encased inside, spotlights a nice drum set up, and a sense of nostalgic melancholy.   Crooning out a detonating chorus, the guitar blurps then jumps in between a melding steady onslaught of chords. With giving up what could be half his lung, Geeza gives the ol’ heave-ho on a hacking cough as a redeeming proper ending.  This alone, gives this song a clever merit of a tune.

Like a rotting corpse of the British bastard-child of The Freeze, ‘Night Of The Living Dead,’ crawls in with a bass-plod with staccato drums between a pile of driving guitar starts and stop-chops.  The middle bridge can be best described as a distinguishing effect of swirl-fuzz guitar, riffing in just enough measure to open a patch of chorus harmonies, bringing it home for the punch.

When I hear this next song, ‘Dead End Dave,’ I couldn’t help to make reference to the USA band, The Antagonizers - and that’s definitely not a bad thing.  Welding on the heavies in the chorus, slashing heavy-metal chords is stamped with vocals assaulting on every beat.  Capping in on the M8, the cleverly auctioned-off echo-ghouling creep-out laughs from Geeza graves back in to the bouncing beat.  Instinctly, I am bouncing right along.

Closing as an effective reminder that we cannot forget what is unjust, ‘This is England,’ is repeated from the first track, but with an angrier, sliced-up slant.  Starting off in the middle of the song, Geeza’s vocals are fiercer and more guttural than the others.  Riling up the whole crew to maverick in a gravely croon, as it all bows out as a fade-in tune of Oi’s at the end. 

This CD definitely is an ‘in-your-face’ punk rock composition all the way.  Like a scab that’s been picked, The Scabs CD can go for yet another round.  A must listen!



This time, Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man and The Fractions share the same CD.  Both with a different style, they possess the same punk-intentioned spirit.  It is ‘Revenge’ though, that manage to pack in so much in half the time on most of their songs and you don’t notice the length difference until it’s over.
Most bands blow their load on the first song of their CD; however, ROTPM have found a way to direct and contain the deep belly of their inferno [that needs no igniting], enough for the listener to digest most of it, and yet spew off musical bits.  The angst on this new split is far more aggressive, and I am relieved they kept their definitive rawness all within their musical punch.

A one-stroke guitar sear launches, ‘Phill Power,’ all under a minute and 16 seconds, blagging syncopated drums, in driving force - straight into a whipping four-chord measure.  Within the confined circles of Manchester, it is a song about one of their housemates who believes that when you want to do something bad (like drinking all day, etc, etc) and choose not to do it, it is displaying, 'will power.’   However, if you decide to just do it anyway regardless, because you know it will be fun, despite the consequences; it is displayed as, 'Phill Power'.  Makes sense with the confirmation as there is no stopping Davey’s sharp-gargled vocals.  They are as choppy as the signatured syncopated beats and lyrical measures of the song.  Angsty shouts are on chorus and back-up, ‘woh’s.’ Replacing a solitary definitive shout, “Break down!” a blink of steady surging guitar, and thudded drums changes back to the lightning-speed.  As a searing guitar chord makes appearance after each chorus line, the twists to the end beats with the enticement of serious fist-flailing, and body throwing, drive the audience to the end of their participating rope.

The ting of the cowbell launches another blast with, ‘This Is Where The Idiot Lives,’ that relives the Revenge days of, ‘Get Pissed, Talk Shit, Dance Like An Idiot,’ with enormous guitar energy and spurted beats.  Supported by Andy’s barked-out coughed-up vocals projecting over 4 chorded start-stops through the entire song, a fast switcheroo, in ½ time slows it, holding the middle.  A dragged-out gargling guttural scream picks up the pace, and packs some heat. The middle, with drum cymbal crashes, coupled by odd guitar chord changes, and a guitar stint that seems cut off – as if the energy has a life of its own.  Ironically, as their sound is just about to go out of control, it is reeled back in to a structure semblance - mowing over all that is in its way to unwind, unravel, all to an unrelenting cymbal-crash finish.

A comedic edge in, ‘Sleep In Your Bath,’ has an identifiable snotty element.  A one-metered acoustic chord strum stops with one accapella pluck of the string debut of a Jew’s harp, [which is comical] before it spins off to the decapitating guitar.  Additional vocals from Andy are not as syncopated or choppy, unlike the guitar/drum works.  It is here that they cut it close to the edge, with a stint of emphasized noise, before reeling it back into the initial melody.  Switching an octave on guitar, the melody croons in scream-shouts, precisely.  The slower time on the M8 gives initiative for the drums and cymbals to smash the beat to the ground.

Their short-lived, ‘Jagermeister Song,’ holds no bar as a tumultuous drinking song. Andy’s shouting is in the gargled melody with distinct light-hearted alternated toned backups by Tim 'Bev' Bevington, Phillip McKie, Big Hands and Graeme (The Fractions) Matt Woods and Davey Psychotronic. Clever on the lyrics, “I'll have 1 shot, 2 shots, 3 shots, 4, shots, 5 shots, 6 shots, 7 shots, I'm pissed,” chorus, all the mates jump in and add their bit.  Humorously nicked, the revealing wink of a jazz cymbal-beat quickly unravels to a fizzled slag ending.

This portion of the CD is simply just too short. Relieved, that these England Fuckers will have a full 14-track CD release, 'Make Pigs Smoke' out May 1, 2009, you can whet your appetite with the CD split on  Well, I can tell you this, that this refutable inferno will not be snuffed out any time soon.

With the new, young faces of punk, The Fractions have an interesting mix of Ska and reggae all swaddled in a danceable punk mix.  There seems to be enough room for vocals between instrument meanderings that keep the listener hooked.  Currently, finishing up their latest full length CD, I was able to nab the last 3 songs on the split with the Revenge of the Psychotronic Man.

Here’s my take - Light fan-fare Ska levels out of the playing field in, ‘Out Of Pocket,’ all in Rancid flair.  Although a faster pace, it is still in that mid tempo that seems to be the foundation element of The Fractions’ sound. The intro trombone melody holds before the chorus harmonies.  Yes, this is for skanking! The consistent beat is balanced out by the smooth backups that are scratched up by crooning lead vocalist, Joe, who bobs through the verses in coarse rhythm.

Obviously, The Fractions love to switch the beat changes, chord changes, and melody changes - all separately and then together in the bridge.  Ignited by machine-gun drums and grinding guitar chords, the heavier, dirgier chords hype-up to double-time beats.  In hollowed-out conviction over the bouncing beat, there’s that snap-back Rancid tempo, that it is all over with one cymbal crash. 

A mellower opening in levelled Ska, the vocals break into a rasta-reggae meter (which I favor more than the crooning).  Although, ‘Down and Out,’ has me grasping for the rails like a roller coaster ride with their punk elements, it has a more developed sound than the first song. The guitar stays more in time with the guitar chords as the horn melody strings underneath the scratched-up vocals.  The middle guitar riff highlights the song.  It is here where the vocals break down with a sharper and more poignant verse.  Adding more angst, the second bridge has the increased vocals crooning but all in that lower register giving into the heavy.  It is this bit of contrast that adds depth and definition to the melody of The Fraction’s style.  Speeding up in the end, the slam-beat drums imports a collage of hardcore beated horns.  Still holding the main melody, a solemn split, dissolves on harmony.

The last song, ‘Proper Successful,’ templates with a variety of twists and turns.  Here, there is a new punk fuzz-guitar melody all chorded to a steady beat.  However, on the first verse, the beat is fractured with drums kicking it up a notch in double-time as the vocals are now fluid over the chopped up long-striding chords, all in syncopated off-times. 

In natural progression, yet another hook up of power-fuzz chords in the middle, holds a nice guitar melody with bass plunking behind.  Just then, the Ska-tinned guitar darts back in with more guttural vocals and a 2x frenzied drum pangs, guitar-groove, and crooned fluid vocals that adds more in variety than this.  In the ending, after the bass accapella, the guitar-chugs a maverick right back to the full circle of melody in streaming vocals, veering towards the dissipated ending.

Despite that these guys are Newbie’s, I can see a future melding of The Fraction’s jazz and punk sounds.  As they spread their wings a bit and develop, they will grow into one unique outfit.

[Note: the lion roar at the beginning of the CD, can be read as a clever message of: You begin with angst, and you end with angst.]



From Pittsburgh, Pensylvania The Traditionals have been plying their blend of early eighties punk and Oi influenced music for just over 10 years, with three previous albums under their belt and heavy gigging in the USA and Europe, the latter part of 2008 sees the release of the new album 'Generation Of Today' on German label Impact. What the band serve up is 15 tracks of fast paced aggressive streetpunk stepping a steel toe cap doc marten into hardcore, imagine Bonecrusher crossed with GBH with a bit of Rose Tattoo thrown in for good measure moulded into their own style. Vocals provide a nice balance between in your face gutterpunk and quite harmonic rantings (similar in parts to Oddie, Resistance 77 ). Lyrically the band throw in good measures of thought provoking social commentary (‘Propaganda Games’, ‘Generation Of Today’) and down to earth lads banter (‘Lets All Get A Beer', ‘End Up In The Pub’). Clever use of lead and rhythm guitars drive the majority of tracks from the start and provide insights into quite accomplished musicianship backed up by solid bass and drums.  You get the feeling the band know exactly what they are doing in the song writing stakes with short burst catchy solos exactly when needed. Each track screams out for your attention even as the album nears the end with ‘Win Some Lose Some’ seeing the band drop the tempo and delivering a great rousting rocky Oi song. Production wise the album bursts out with energy and I can imagine a ‘live’ show by The Traditionals would not be that far away from this.

Overall the album successfully crosses over the Oi/streetpunk and hardcore genres, not an easy thing to do, definite challengers in my ears to Bonecrusher's rightful title of kings of american streetpunk.

Hear tracks from the reviewed album on the humdrumpunk FNA025 Podcast on the above site!!

Review by Humdrum Andy



Hailing from Cambridge in the south of England Freedom Faction are one of new thirty-somethings bands made up of people who've served their punk apprenticeship and decided that what they do is relevant to the current music scene. Up for review are three tracks from their forthcoming ep "We Present You With These".   All three songs  ‘Come Up And Get It’, ‘Viva La Punk’ and ‘Blah Blah Blah’ bring to mind an edgier early Penetration, no doubt due to the fact of Rhianna Milton's vocal delivery, but also on the music side of things the band produce an highly credible take on 77 inspired punk going for melody over speed. As mentioned the vocals are strong and aggressive at the same time showing vocal abilities and the Pauline Murray/Penetration sound is more than comparable on "Viva Le Punk" a great anthemic song that is sure to make people stand up and take notice. The band up the tempo on "Come Up And Get It" whilst still retaining a melody driven by the rasping guitar a theme continued with the final song of the preview ‘Blah, blah, Blah’.

Definitely a preview that makes you anticipate the full release, Freedom Faction are a band that are worth keeping an eye out for.
www. myspace. com/freedomfactionuk

Review by Humdrum Andy



Western Australia is not a great place to be to keep your finger on the punk pulse, but the lifestyle makes up for it, but then something crops up and kicks you up the arse like an exocet and makes you homesick and wish you were back home and involved again. It’s finally happened to me with an advance copy of One Man Stand's new album, ‘One Man Stand’. Nowadays any album that makes me take off the walkman and stop gardening or whatever and run inside to whack it on the stereo at full blast is few and far between. From the first time I saw One Man Stand in a pub in Preston with about half a dozen punters many moons ago they were always a band who I would go out of my way to see and help where I could, no pretensions, no punk rock clothe horse clones - just three lads who loved playing their own brand of punk. A new bassist a few years ago brought new life to the band who grabbed the new lease with both hands. A few of us knew how good this band could be, the first album showed just what they were capable of but the new album pushes the bar to new heights.

Enough waffling on with the album review

I was already familiar with the opening track ‘Break Down The Walls’ - a stomper of a punk track with a bit of Oi swagger thrown in, but the second track ‘78’ shows how far One Man Stand have come in a couple of years since their last album .OMS have upped their game both in the writing stakes and belief in themselves. Starting off with the familiar OMS guitar intro, bass runs and drum rolls lead into a fair paced track about a first experience with punk in 1978, showing the band are not afraid to try something new with the addition of spoken samples thrown in before an ending of a great sing-a-long chorus.  Track three ‘Just Like Me’ starts off with a bit of a reggae dub intro reminiscent of the Ruts then it bursts into a Leatherfaced type aural assault before dropping back into a dub beat, some bands try the reggae route and are unsuccessful but ‘Just Like Me’ is so carefully crafted it works well. One thing OMS have always been good at is a sing-a-long chorus and again this one hits the spot.

‘Take Your Chances’ and ‘Keep On Running’ again with bass runs aplenty and the trademark OMS driving guitar sound, the band have structured their own style that brings a familiarity to songs you haven’t heard before, this is carried on throughout the middle of the album until ‘Surface To Air’ shows a new intensity to both the bands song writing and structure

‘Little Red Riding Should’ along with ‘Just Like Me’ are my picks of the album which is hard considering the quality of every track, this is thinking man’s punk of the highest order and again shows OMS pushing themselves to greater heights. As this album is being released in Japan track 9 ‘Kampai’ shows off Ants Japanese albeit with a Manc accent (New language called Mancanese?) with a song I’m reliably informed by the Mrs is about friendship. The Japanese lyrics and sing-a-long Oi style chorus is a sure winner and works well.

‘Fetch The Noose’ the penultimate track jumps from the speakers and gives your ears a good kicking with tempo and aggression in perfect harmony. As a bonus track 10 is an almost acoustic version of ‘Black Hole’, an OMS classic track from way back. Never thought of it as an acoustic track but boy does it work well and again shows OMS are not afraid to do what they want to do and not be afraid of pushing their own boundaries.

Everything about this album just oozes quality from the lively production right through to a band on fire.  An album and a band that can’t be pigeonholed grabbing their influences from the Clash through to Leatherface and producing an album that if released by Epitaph, people would be wanking themselves stupid over like stressed out chimps. This is an album that raises the bar for the underdog punk scene and slaps the face of the punk rock circus that dominates. Do yourself a favour and get a copy of this album then you will start to understand what punk rock should be about.

Think I’ve just found something better than sex, two cigarettes after listening to it again, yeah I Have! Album available from

Review by Humdrum Andy

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