FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
 
 

CHOKED - BLOOD SPORT EP

Choked, a new generically blending bunch of dabblers from the Borderlands with various essences thrown together, proffered up on a DIY platter for keen dogs like me to partake of, digest and spit back with feedback.  I was asked, I will do, it was made clear that I should be honest with my review - by heck, I have never done things any other way - hence the unpopularity and the many bruised toes and egos out there.  I do what I do with good intent though, I think some people are just a little too delicate for their own good - ooh the silly sods.

'Two Can Play' is the opening gambit, it appears on the periphery of our aural vision with a slow-steaming chuggery before the radiofied vocals give the first hint at true direction and sub-snarl out an opening verse/chorus chunk that has a lively chomp.  The mid-paced style is zoned-in, somewhat condensed and of many merging tones.   The second slab of gobbery comes, the impression is enhanced, I am so far convinced.   We re-wrap around the central shaft of spiralling sound once more before duly drifting off into submerged realms were a switch in the general blend comes with the main spine of sound soon re-located.  The oral hook is perhaps a little over done, maybe the song just hangs around for a little too long although the shadowy effects to the verbal spillage is a nice added extra that drips with potential.  To be fair though this is a decent opener and has certainly got me involved - job done.

'Reaper' is a doom-laden piece stating its case against positions precarious and reflective of nothing more than utter foolishness.  The structure of the song is adaptable, metamorphic and somewhat nebulous, there is a definite ad-hoc arrangement emanating from the musical quarters with the lead lass on an eager carousel of repetition and unending desire.  When the song steps out of the loop good relish is encountered with a drifting bass washed over with persistently shimmering string strokes and nervously agitated drum beats.  The song is just a trifle imbalanced when it comes to the final mix and just lacks that final finishing flow.  Too many wanderings off-line are unnecessary and thus distractions cause discombobulation which is a shame - I just hope the message is taken note of.

'Phone Calls And Lies' is a rock cum psyched out mule of melody that kicks its feet and waltzes around with a somewhat wayward gait.   The spine of the song is somewhat unstable and wavers a little too much for this listener's comfort.  The substrate of sound beneath the oral hooves is a shifting state of affairs that gives the vocalist room to express and manoeuvre but which fails to provide a foundation on which to increase direction and drive.  Maybe this is a deliberate ploy and I am missing the point, I do feel though that the song would benefit from an underscore of regulation riffery.

I crack on, 'Blood Sport' is the next ditty with opening deep resonating bass bars best given an enhancement via the ever-awaiting volume button.  The initial swings in the funky serenade are passionate, from the viewpoint of the hunted, away from the pompous inhumane wankers on horseback who dress in traditional raiment’s that in some ways reflect the hopeless cases that they are.  The thought behind the musical product appeals, the overall construct itself works too with a freelance accent never to be tamed and a runaway indulgent interlude played with utter focus.  Again, and this is my irresistible punk soul talking, the song would fare better if lightly shaved and the running time cut, but as I say tis a personal viewpoint and there ain't nowt wrong with that!

And lastly 'Blind Faith' a number that squelches in but not like a damp fart.  No, the song has a more solidified feel and is pushed out with a certain muscularity that gives it a chance of winning favour.  My initial thoughts are unsure and then I listen more deeply.  A gentle rhythm opens with the lead lass somewhat hepped up and hollering with good gusto whilst driving home a kickback message against lunatic acceptance which seems to ignore the fact that things are turning to shit and inane words of wisdom are offering up no solution wahtsoever.   Again the musical style is different from what one usually receives and is in direct combat with the gob work - I am all for things coming from a different angle, I now have to try and see this lot 'live' where I think these songs will work a whole lot better.

My honesty must dictate in my summing up and I find myself in part unsure, in others intrigued.  I think there is great improvement to be had here and yet I think this is a good opening gambit.  I feel the band have much to say, it may be better if they say it in a more succinct punky way and add in a few 'orthodox' power riffs but I also recognise that the band have their own style and I certainly don't want to quell that.  Like I say, a 'live' viewing would be welcome and I will be certainly interested to see what their next step is!

MFC CHICKEN - FAST FOOD & BROKEN HEARTS

10 years on, the clucking fuckers we have before us have released 4 albums to date and I have been privileged enough to review the lot.  The band pick up the most basic of tribal rhythms, wraparound a central shaft of snagging sound and adorn with choicely picked elements in the most uncomplicated of ways.   It has been a while since I dabbled in this quite refreshing musical realm, I am expecting big things here but won't shy away from being critical if the need arises.  I don my jitterbugging shoes just in case though, these might be a real finger-licking, bollock-kicking beauties - there is only one way to find out!

'Always, Always, Always' gets the foot tap and the groove set - I have no complaints.  The shadowy surfed drums, the immediately effective sax-appeal and the nagging basics of good old rock and roll all jump from the rotating circle of silver and do what they set out to do - get one all a jitter.   The vocal inclusion is highly relished and utterly hungry for the job at hand whilst all musical touches are somewhat minimalised but still come together to make a quite complete sound.  Several 'obvious' licks are had, the groove is straight out of yesterday and dusted down and delivered today - I think I need add little more only that I am now ready to cluck and fuck onwards.  'KFC Called The Cops On Me' tells a tale of a potentially chicken chomping chump who gets busted and is left in a state of salivating need with emotions spilling and the local law needed.  We get thrown around a deep-grilled bout of trouble and for one, I am happy to be in the melee.  Tis songs like this that the MFC crew cough up and have me questioning their whole mental stability.  They really are on the cusp, thank goodness for that, anything more refined and deemed as 'normal' would be an insult to what they do - ooh the cracked set of bastards.  Whilst all this noodleism is transpiring it would be wise to remind all that the music is darn tasty and should not be overlooked - we have to be fair here and this band are certainly no set of bumbling amateurs.  I go onwards, skipping and singing, a quite unsightly spectacle I can tell ya.

'Who Gave What To Who' is a fine jaunt maintaining the nervous quirky vim set and travelling the tightrope of tonality where this band can be found balancing.  The jumping bean agitation is delivered with a high level of convincing perfection whilst the fore-crooner opens his heart and admits to being a trifle blue'd up.  A precarious number, hot-footing on sparking keyed coals that scorch the tootsies and keep one intrigued.  A real oddball this (well aren't they all) and one that keeps that crooked flow moving.  I am chugging along and chomping deeply on this twat-tickling treat - hot damn!

'Shell Of A Man' is a stop and start, stutter nutter confessional that sees an admission that all that is left is a mere husk striving to hold on and squeeze out the dregs of the musical carcass.  The running time is terse, the arrangement built on one strict spinal column of sound, the delivery sharp suited, to the point and free of unnecessary fluff.  We are hypnotised from the off by the prodding saxophony, marched deeper into a state of mesmerism by a strutting chunk of tuneful moving with an inner instrumental noisily invading and keeping the eyelids raised.  The final harmonies raise hopes and then into the next one we go.  'I'm Lost' is a real mover with a deep resonating reverberation that trembles the listener's undercarriage with mean intent.  The key to the arse-moving goodness is the bee-bumble bassism that is incessantly on the move and providing a solid and highly energised substrate on which the other swinging contributors can do their funky thing.  From the off the dark edge of this number is brandished, the relish for the task at hand is blatant and the need to twist, twirl and twang one’s appreciative foreskin is high.  Pure pick-me-up tomfoolery this with a rewarding superfluity of spunkery - have it baby, just fuckin' have it.

A sharp invasive discordance, a matter of fact move and 'I Couldn't Say No' turkey-asses along with an irresponsible stride that sees seeds planted here and there and due eggs of suspicion fertilised -  oh the dirty cluck-wit.  Eventually the song reveals a situation sussed, the cunt dipping cock is dealt with (hooray) and the song is done.  This is a mere tonal tale, the content cripples my interest but the toon is a good un!  'Fresh Chicken, Straight From The Trash' is straight at it, bounding along with robust rigidity on a skeleton of sound that remains upright, enthused and dangerously untrustable.  The vibe is as per, this is one of those moments when I need to add little else and I am happy to jive ass along.

'Spy Wail' is delicious sub-Duane Eddy wriggle that squirms beneath your skin and succeeds in creating a head-nodding episode of agreeable dinnage.  The whole shebang has a snake-charming essence that sets out to mesmerise and duly does just that!  There is something jazzy going on here, a cumulative reactive rhythm seemingly operating on a 'see what happens' regime.  The brass is a significant component; it certainly helps enhance the overall tune.  A fine 'Johnny B Goode' guitar jangle welcomes us into the clashing song known as 'Spontaneous Combustion', a viciously penetrating song filled with great grooving venom and hitting the agitating sonic hotspots in utterly glorious style.   The fizzing ill-intent of the number is counterbalanced by a deliciously animate tune that never lets up until the final blow-out - this may just be the best of the best - I replay over and over just to be sure!

Down the home run, 'Breakfast Taters' is a quick looping undulator of food-obsessed thinking that reveals a potential fat-man fighting, a fellow immersed in the prospects of the fry-up, a bloke baconified, greased up and in need of the early morning appetiser.   The strings are akin to the eager heartbeat just prior to the nosh up, the lurching sax strikes give hint of bowels filled to capacity and bordering on a reflux action.  The song is far from sickly though, it is a nutrient filled serving that I for one am happy to indulge in - by heck this reviewing lark don't half build up an appetite!  'Fuck You, Me' is a vicious song delivered with a totally opposing shindig structure that lightens the output and keeps one wondering about the mental stability of the lead hollerer and his comrades.  It seems there has been some upset, forgiveness is not an option and we are we all encouraged to clap along and swing to the rhythm.  It seems the you and the me is gonna get a kicking from the self - if you get what I mean!

'Free Range Man' is a slowly boiled blues'ed up creeper with certain 'Holly-esque' guitar ripples, a shady shiver of the cymbals, a rich oral organ twist and the surreptitious bass that keeps all flowing...the right way.   The vocals are as cracked as ever and gift us words dripped from a never-to-be-tamed man's lips, a real wandering nomad of drifting and dreaming ideals - is that a bad thing?  'Tipi Tapa' prepares and then side-winds along with gratifying hip-gyrating gumption.   The snag is magnetic, the sub-rustiness attractive, the overall delivery utterly absorbing.   The impetus builds, the crew cacophonise with clarity and a smile-inducing influence and I rate this as a real dipper-dapper ditty of welcome joy - bang on baby!

The closure is 'Waste Of Space', again the flow is adequate as is the mix and the overall enthusiasm.  The song starts and prepare, hope springs eternal but matters are soon dashed against the rocks of reality with the statement given being more than a little sobering.   The verses are accompanied by a guitar tickle, the chorus stamped with authority, the message rammed home with finger-licking goodness - I sign off quite pleased.

Is this the best MFC serving thus far?  It may just well be so!  Are the band destined to keep on raising a smile and getting the tow tapping - I can't see why not.  Am I suffering from cluck-o-mania cacophony - well cock-a-doodle doo - it seems that way!

PUNK 4 THE HOMELESS COMPILATION - VOLUME 4

That bastard Eagle Spits doesn't half keep me busy, another compilation to do, this one overlooked but when complete it will get me up to date with that Nottingham-based Nob-Rot whom I have a great deal of respect for (Yes, I have several screws loose).  I always expect variety when Eagle puts anything together and that is what I get here with something old/something new on show and with the only thing turning blue being the tips of my fingers after tapping out another assessment.  I am trying to use an austere approach here, needs must and it will test my accuracy for sure (tis odds on I fail, what’s new).

Nowhere City Riot' steam in with the usual fare of 'Nothing To Lose'.  The accents are all hard-hitting with the string works buzzing and perpetually fuzzing whilst the drums are clattered and the gob burns throat skin whilst spouting off much toxic vitriol.  The entire impacting attack is bog standard music I have heard a million times before and sticks within distinct boundaries that perhaps takes off a little of the edge - the fact remains though, the song has bollocks.  Nieviem adopt a similar style of song and the usual strains of generically saturated punkery with 'Austerity'.  The ditty has a pleasing power of punch but this time is given a level of finesse by the unstrained oral style.  This is a consistent and complimentary donation that is in cacophonic cahoots with its predecessor - as a pair they work mighty well together and are quite easy to relate to.

The first elevation into purist quality comes with Burning From The Inside who gift our ears with a sublimely effective cutlet known as 'Only Death Can Kill Me Now'.  The song has a sharpness of production, thinks on its feet, moves with an enthralling momentum that sucks in the listener and leaves then highly animated.  The double-edged throat explosions are perfect partners in crime and contribute generously in making this the best track of the entire CD.  The band have a certain class, are more than capable of writing quite hard-hitting and sonically snagging songs - just like here.

Flat Back Four jump up next and give us their recognisable old/new hybrid that has many touches to entertain.  'The Pub Of My Dreams' sums up the thinking of these sozzled sods with the leaning towards music crowded and clashing and a preference for a tipple blatant.  As is the norm with this lot, the song cannot be easily assessed over one spin, not two, or even three - no, one has to stick in and soak up the goodness and then decide - at the time of writing I am in a positive 60/40 position.  Flatcaps and Fisticuffs jump in next and offer up the perpetual piss-pot loop of 'Ale Song' - a mere boozing blow-out with no subtlety, no profundity and certainly no hidden message.   This is an uncomplicated celebration of swilling - it does no harm, there is nowt wrong with a good old shindig whilst sozzled - have it, mine's a pint!

One of the best donations of the entire CD is the remarkably effective 'Make It Count' by Hotwired, a song built on real old-school she-vocals and a buzz-cutting underscore that works a treat and adds the ideal escort.  There is a certain nonchalance to the oral delivery that does the business and is held aloft by a perfectly blended backdrop of sound that incessantly pulses, cruises and as said, supports.   This is old school stuff, it hits many hidden hotspots and some not so tucked away - I am quite impressed.  Cassette Apes come next with their 2-man minimalism and a song called 'Wind Your Neck In'.  The pre-programmed regurgitation is highly digitalised and delivered with a persistence that really ensnares the attention.  This lot have played a few gigs for me, have always added a sound angle and this is atypical of what they do - I am a fan, it is very hygienic computerised noise that has a great spark.

A 'Queen's Shilling' is offered next as 'Trackstar/Pornstar' dish the scuzzy dirt via a penetrating outburst of fiery temper that has DK suggestions and obvious H/C foot-stamps.  This is a multi-faceted song of colliding generic qualities with all the while, the exactitude of the mix and the power, being of a very gratifying standard.  I come out of the latter end of the noise-making melee convinced by the construction but not fully grasping what actually has gone on - oh bugger.  Worm are a long-term band who know their stuff inside and out and play a simple brand of very effective punkery that is propelled straight from the street and into your lap.  They have metamorphed over many moons but still seem to have a penchant for producing ditties that stay below the 2-minute mark - I am always glad about that!  This is a sharp song that gets on with matters and keeps the CD flowing with great gusto - think on and don't be a 'Little Man'.

Who Killed Nancy Johnson tumble-fuck in quite uneven fashion with the oddment known as 'Pretending To Like People'.  This wise-ass number is angst incarnate, a frustration built on agitation caused by the kiss-arse populace who desire success and will eat heaps of shit to get what they want and where they want to be.  The song works its way to a more orthodox style and builds up a good head of steam before suddenly finalising matters - not bad!  Tribal earth calls arise from depths uncertain next as Yo Dynamo create woodland incantations and summon the presence of the olde warted and wanked fucker known as 'Toadlicker'.  This weird and somewhat freakish spillage comes across as an immersed piece that is away from the norm and happy to wallow in its own self-created experimentation.  It is a difficult piece to assess, built on reactive 'off the cuff' sensations that need a little adjusting to - I may need more time.  The following song is easier to assess and is quite simply labelled as the work of a fuckin' out and out loon.  Tim Trampeater is obviously disturbed and really shouldn't be allowed anywhere near anything musical or deep-fried.  The offering known as 'I Want Some Chips' should be consigned to the files of 'nonsense' but my favour is won due to the insatiable desire for those well-cooked oblongs of potato that just taste so darn good.  The output is utterly DIY and straight from the compost bin of reality - there is something appealing in things that are approachable and give us all hope!

The Sentence jump into the penultimate position with the quality-laden, hard-hitting 'More War'.  The band are well-versed, they know what they want to do and they do it well.   They dish out here a punky number of mid-paced melody that saws away at resistance with the front throat nicely strained and utterly sincere with the task at hand.  This is taken from the band’s debut EP, an EP that is worth a listen for sure.    We close with an upchuck from 100,000 Body Bags called 'Take Your Ball And Fuck Off'.  This final punctuation mark to a strong and varied compilation is raw, under-produced and of a low-budget style that initially attracts my attention.  The rhythm is loose and fluent, the vocals are somewhat submerged in the bare-boned sound and the running time seems a little extreme but from the off to the final tape the songs never lets up and reflects a band absorbed and utterly in-the-zone with their produce.   The closing throes are reckless and victim to much irritation and when the last of the gas leaves the heaving lungs we duly fold and meet the awaiting silence.

Job done and I consider it a good un'.  Whether or not that is reflected in my scribblings is anyone's guess but I was asked, I did and whatever people make of that is neither here nor there in the big scheme of things.  I do hope I have piqued interest, CD's like this deserve attention but we are in times awash with dabbling and distraction and so humble offerings such as this seem to always get a duff do.  The art, as ever, is in the trying though and I think this CD has certainly been worth my time and effort - go on, have a listen and appreciate the DIY ethos.

THE CRAVATS - HOORAHLAND

Are The Cravats indeed awkward twats who are just toying with our ideals of what music should be and what rules it should follow - I fuckin' hope so.  These ad-hoc jazz-punk experimentalists are still dabbling, some 40+ years after their inception into the world of unpredictability and wayward din-making.  Their last offering was duly assessed by this here victim of the vibrations and there was much to wax pseudo-lyrical about.  Here I have another deluge of colliding cacophony and lunatic abstraction to handle - I feel dizzy and delighted at the prospect - forgive me oh dear reader for the uncertain textual pathways I am about to wander!

'Goody Goody Gum Drops' brass calls, stamps hard sonic feet and states a cut and paste case with the expected detachment of individual wordage.  The music is emboldened, strong and delivered with a zoned-in authority that repetitively saws away, spirals and slashes.  The resisting unsure receptors are eventually groomed and doomed - doomed that is to utter acceptance of what the band do and the style with which they do it.  The blend of all components is spot on the mark, the dripping suggestion of something 'not right' paradoxically is 'just right' and therein the eternal questions arise and the endless conundrum is found - I find myself trying to disentangle the riddles set - what foolishness is this?  'Shy' is a nervously active follow up with a fibrillating reflex action escorting the urgency of the verses whilst cymbalised splashes and honest-to-good skin slaps keep on the cusp.   The gobbery demands attention, raises its head from squalor of doubt, peers at the great wide world and worries.   We seem to be in a state of toxic agitation, a self-destructive mire of uncertainty whilst all the while the internal rhythmic wires thrash about, spark and offer something akin to a hopeful existence.  The build-up to the final blow out is kept in a state of decent order - I am mighty glad about that!

'Same Day' is the pick of the pimpled and warted pops for me with the capricious clamouring cutlets all combining to create one cock-eyed corruption of quite mesmeric music that utterly delights my inner nucleus of impish naughtiness.   The verses are stated, delivered from recesses were fungal-based madness has rotted all sense of decency, the chorus cuts are driving billows of forthright mania that really set the lugholes alight.   There is a creeping miasma of things 'not right' here, an unsettling suggestion of theatrical deviancy played out for an audience of disturbed music loving folk, folk who are all off-centre and agog with the groove - the quality of the mix is just icing on a cake of acquired taste.

'Now The Magic Has Gone' is a gift from a funland of fuckery with a serpent-like brass loop used to entrance, a waltzing swing added to disorientate, a hotchpotch of words designed to confound - it is what The Cravats do and do so fuckin' well.  Abstraction oversees a montage of reacting rhythms, natural counterpunches are thrown with abandon whilst all the while the carousel of ad-hoc lunacy turns, enchants, devours.   Somehow I am in a state of submission - I am at a loss as to an explanation of this disarming situation - 'help me...please'.

'Good For You' arises from derelict ashes, smoulders like a sultry whore left on a wasteland of regret, moves with a sass in the ass and tries mighty hard to seduce.  There is a cold delivery of the verbals that warns of a heart of stone, an emotionally void vacuum that is just liable to consume, cough up and leave one...cursed.  I am appreciative of the atmosphere created and the sub-normal approach taken once more - I can take or leave this one though, it does tend to go on for a little too long.  'Oh How We Laughed' emerges from depths haunted, substrates both cursed and constipated.  This is a mere interlude, a shadow-shifting bout of intangible tossery that impedes the flow of the CD and has one reaching for the fast-forward button.  An episode of pointless crap but it does dissect the gathering of sound and gets one keen to be back on the crooked track.  'There Is No Good' bumbles along with fucked clockwork multi-functions, each one competing, colliding and become concertinaed in a calm confusion of clutter-fucking – what the fuck!

A snatch of 4 leaves me with a right old mix to assess in double-quick time.  'There Is No God' is a gloopy threat cum assurance that may unsettle or reassure dependent on the leaning adopted.    The song creeps in from realms of indecision, strives to gain a foothold via some staggering bass and eventually creams outward a very uneven piece of barbed reality.  A pure unbelieving celebration - a somewhat perverse delight taken in utter solitary confinement.  This is not a favourite of mine but 'March Of The Business Acumen' is a far more appealing presentation with initial prospects hopeful and the hope fulfilled with a perpetually lunatic fringe oddment that has clambering verses traversing tricky tonal territory and chorus cuts that find firmness underfoot and stride forth with head down forthrightness - it makes for a decent clash and counterbalance episode that, as per, confounds.   'Trees & Birds & Flowers & Sky' are 4 wonderful facets of the great wide world, here they are used as elements to get one considering a demise, a probable end and all delivered via a thunder-laden track that travels rigid rails and penetrates your tunnel of cognisant consideration.   The band are at their most effective when pushing the pedal, burning the creative petroleum and clattering to the finish line - no words of derailment are needed here.  The last of the four frisky reviews is the tasty-sounding 'Jam Rabbits'.  This is a limp lump of moving music that always seems to hold a threat and be in a position of insane release.   The release comes, it is a real warm and somewhat well-stewed piece but it slips down the awaiting throat far too quickly and leaves one hungry for more.  I kinda like this, then again, I could have a word with myself in a mirror and give myself a jolly good dressing down.

The last brace - 'Morris Marina' has essences of killer car syndrome where the engined beast dictates, sets fates and may it be said, masturbates on your highway of expectation.  The initial glass-light twinklings repeat spiral, a subdued first chorus jumps on hope and we are left wondering.  The thoroughfare traversed is meandering, the inconsistency of the consistency problematic and the subtle and not so subtle U-turns taken become difficult to get to grips with.  The seat belt of sense comes loose, I hold on tight and get juddered and buggered, come journey end I am vague but sure in the fact that this isn't a bad song it, is just that I don't know what it is - perhaps I have overdosed and reached my limit - it was always liable to happen.

#The title track closes. 'Hoorahland' is an apocalyptic rainstorm of vandalising vision borne from a mind blown by abstraction and post-it note randomisation.  A pluck from here, a pluck from there, a thing said and forgotten before another utterance comes without relation, without cohesion and certainly without any tangible reasoning.  We have a final scrapbook of salmagundi-fied snippets - I have to say I am scrambled by this stage and enough is enough - I am sure some will still be gagging for more, there are some real headcases out there (God bless em').

Again I have been thrown into the rubber room of rhythm, been duly bounced around, felt the cranial gunk drip from my lugs and been left in a twitching heap trying to make sense of what has transpired.   I have been enthralled, dumbfounded, surprised, disappointed, delighted, disturbed and I suspect...mentally bummed.  It is my own fault, I should have known better but The Cravats are prone to upsetting the applecart and creating all manner of disruptions - like it or not, I don't think they should change a thing.

1

ENGINE SUMMER - BACK STREET BOYS

Indie-fied transgressions I make, outside of my polluted areas and away from the overabundance of spiked tones.  I knew nothing of the band and nothing of the sounds emanated so went in cold and came out...aah that would be telling.   I did find out the band hail from Chicago, they are a three-piece and the brand of tuneage ploughed forth is thoroughly believed in and of many different influence soaked strains.  I was left to listen in and offer an honest verdict, I think I have said this before but my position is where the shit-end of the stick is found.

I reach out and grasp like the usual keen fool that I am, track one is entitled 'Carol's Dead', it creeps in below your over-alert sensors before manifesting itself as a song with strange angles, capricious illuminations, an unorthodox approach that spirals upward, descends and never truly makes up its mind.  This is a very odd opening gambit, a moment that never truly reveals the full flavour of the band and what to expect of this 7 track offering.  There is little going on but it seems like a lot, we have a song to trouble the taste-buds, I move on and consider the second track, namely 'Suds'.  In some ways, what we get here is a repeat dose of that which has been but I feel we have a greater grasp of the end design and the arrangement is much more digestible and, as a result...effective.  Again we get a routine constantly regurgitated but this time the hook snags in an instantaneous manner and there is a positive, upbeat sheen to the upper surface of sound - it works a treat!

'Under The Sea' we go next, immersed in a somewhat wishy-washy song of light rippling impact that really does take a little adjusting to.  The light strums capture ambiguous light whilst the skipping underscore of tympanic agitation keeps the song buoyant.   The oral style is somewhat over relaxed and a little vague, I struggle, if the truth be told, to get to grips with what is a quite diluted and elusive song.  I spin over and over, I am not keen, I move on and know when I am beat.

Next up and 'Groovin' On 63rd' has a good mix of sub-Hip-Hop bounce and grubby pseudo-garage tonality mixed within a lively itch of sound that fidget-fucks around and whets the appetite for a good old shindig to come.  I grow with the groove and await a full-on explosion, imagine my frustration when the song ends at 1 minute 21 seconds!   I feel a trifle let down here but am never going to kick a song for getting things done in a double quick time, all it needs is a little more effort on my part and a focus on the 'repeat button' on ye olde CD player.  A similarly terse account follows with 'Likes' not hanging around despite being of a slower, more reclined pace.  This is a quirky song with a repeat scenario set and a wilt in the lilt that fails to stiffen my appraising member.  I tune in a little more deeply, my eyes become heavily-lidded, no I am just not getting any kind of pleasure from this one although when matters get a little more scurfed up I do prick up my lugs.

The last 2 and 'Spice Boys' is a cool midnight burner with ponderous probings kept alive by a bass beat, a soft ruffle of the tympanic skins and carefully whispered vocals.  The song is a flat-lined affair with over-excitement kept in the background and an attempt to keep all smouldering and sultry had.  Again I am out of sync but recognise that the band have mixed all areas well, finalised the end production with a certain exactitude and insight and met the needs of those that are probably already fans.  The closure comes with 'Night School', a song that tiptoes forth, keeps a low profile and slowly goes about its business in a somewhat sedate and unruffled style.  The touches are all casual and minimal, the atmosphere somewhat crepuscular with no real starbursts had.  For me this is switch-off serenading, an escort to sit in the shadows whilst one is reclined, deep in thought, in a mode of introspection.  It has its place, I label it a 'now and again' number.

A strange CD this, one I have failed to fully get to grips with but one with many meritorious moments to please those more in tune within the certain generic pool.  The flavours are mild, the potential difficult to assess but the band know their style, do what they do well and who the fuck am I to argue?  I have come, been honest and wish the creators well - I hope I have captured some part of the elusive essence - sometimes I hate reviewing!

TALK SHOW - THESE PEOPLE

A relatively new crew on the scene with a post-punk accent hollering from their general base in South-London.  This hopeful release comes via Council Records and as fallen my way via Prescription Press.  There is a certain retro-independence going on within the weave and with only 4 tracks to analyse I am hopeful that I can get to the nub of the noisy matter and, with due honesty, give a true impression of what goes on with my usual Fungalised opinions.  

'Stress' has a great cut-glass introduction with tonal light refracted in many ways before being channeled into the opening verse where the bass is allowed early exposure with a flicker skin accompaniment making sure things are kept agitated.  The vocal style is dark and rinsed through with mystery whilst the underlay of sound grows in stature and, may it be said, authority.  There is a general weight to the movement, a movement that is of an obvious period in time when many generic pools crossed boundaries, blurred into one and came up with some quite interesting songs on a hit and shit basis.  Here the song culminates in many hard-hitting, emotively fueled moments when the leash is severed - it ain't a bad do at all and over time, just gets better and better.  'Atomica' has a somewhat agitated jazz-esque construction with an early off-the cuff feel not really satisfying my eavesdropping soul and leaving me somewhat out of sync.  The song eventually starts to find its true raison d'etre though and builds itself up with a vice-like intensity laying on the pressure and squeezing out more positive critique.  The emotive edge cuts deeply, the musical urgency is blatant and all the while the band whip up a good flourish of thriving noise.  When placed next to the previous quality laden song this follow-on effort shines even brighter - time though is much needed with this second track - think on.

'Banshee' is a song of nervous irritation, chest-relieving therapy, wishes, hope and loss.  The song has many refractive angles, each one contributing to the end kaleidoscope of cacophony that, when adjusted to, has many pleasing sensations and numerous uplifting power-surges.  The opening falls in with a staggering uncertainty before confidence ascends, a vocal need is exposed and a superb glimmer guitar appears.  The song moves with a distinct awkwardness, it fails to fully achieve the levels gained by the previous outings but it is by far from a duff do - perhaps time will reveal further layers of pleasure, who knows?

'Petrolhead' is a solid closure with a growing presence looming, threatening and then delivering the goods in a most doubtless manner.   Even if this music is not your thing, even if the vibrations shake out a critical response surely the acceptance of artistes in the know is still obvious.  Again we have great waves of post-punk irritation all cooked up with concrete production values and a certain degree of passion.  From each pore of the acoustic epidermis perspiration is seen to form, soon a full on sweat is blatant, the entire possession is taken.  The full stop to the CD is pronounced and adequate!

4 tracks partaken of, 4 tracks tossed around the assessing palette and I have come out the other end quite thrilled.  The opening track is the 'killer', it is a beauty and exemplifies everything captivating about the crew at the helm and for me is destined for a 'Song of the Month' choice.  Overall this CD is a pip, it ensnares a moment in time, expands and adds some - I have no complaints and good on Council Records for a fine discovery and Prescription Press for asking me to review.

   

PUNK 4 THE HOMELESS COMPILATION - VOLUME 5

Another compilation - No 5 in a very admirable series put together by a long-term doofer who knows no other way - there ain't nowt wrong with that.  The aim is to expose sounds, make some dosh for street kids and to keep many caring balls rolling in every which way you can imagine.  Many bands sit under the radar of many people's receptors - there is where the most glorious sounds are found, as per, Fungal expects.

The Dyin' Flies make the brave step of opening this 15 track journey with the more than adequate 'Leave Me Alone'.  The song begins on regular punky resonations, continues with a relatable pissed-off feel that is 100% reflective of the songs title.  The blend is honest, the pace encouraging, the verbal content borne from a pecked head in need of some peace and quiet and a little less of the emotional riot.  The band play their cacophonic cards in a simple manner, at such an early juncture this is no bad thing.  Hummer jump into the fray next with a more modernised style of punk with all the melodic elements of a sub-generic pool where many thrive and do their thing, it is part and parcel of an area of noise that has a good swathe of pluckers.  I have heard much of this tonal product over the years, it is usually well played, of the same barbless character with emphasis always lain on the musical output rather than the attitude.   This is solid song with no real fault but it will never be my everyday listening matter, am I being 'Unreasonable?'

7AM are next to go under the spotlight and plough forth with a dirty dishrag of discordance waved in your mush and left to emanate its stinking sonic stuff.  This is low down and nasty, utterly raw and done with a certain abandon that I for one appreciate.  The appeal of the riffery, the scorched substrate of sound and the overall natural noise that tingles my tits of appreciation without fuss all make for a genuine highlight I shall duly ponder further.  What we have next is a sincere faux pas with a good band like the Cryogenics getting the shit end of the stick due to a subdued recording of a song entitled 'No Escape'.  The effort is not given enough balance to hold its own and therefore allowing a good, spunky, orthodox snippet of punkery to slip down the drain.  I take time, the song is as said, straight-forward and bollock-clobbering but, why oh why wasn't the mixing levels of the CD brought up to scratch so that all songs were of equal volume - hey ho, such is the DIY realm.

'Fool Me' by Samuel Hornsby is an acoustic tickle from a man nonplussed, a mere bloke with an overspill of thoughts on an abundance of areas and always seemingly coming up...discombobulated.   The strings and the tonsil wires are forever fluttered with an incessant flow of thoughts and observations coming so fast that one can barely keep up with what is going on.   The talent is more than obvious, the accent approachable but by heck you need a few spins to capture the gist.  We follow with a sub-80's flicker with Cookie doing the business via the quite surprising 'Orgreave'.  Away from the violence of the clash the song takes a position and analyses, it does so with sharp semi-folked authority and a cold calculating eye that sees what really went on - the power of the people wins the day!  The glittering touches and observance of real-life situations collide and give all potential 'Ragged Trousered Philanthropists' a chance to take further stock.  A choice inclusion.

Shackleford are quick pop punk sprinters who play with a chipper accent and keep things crisp, clean-cut and with lively, heartening energy.  The style is from the middle era of the punk movement when things became master-skated, more baggy arsed and may it be said, more bubble-gummed.   The players stay within the confines of the sub-genre and tickle along at a very nice pace thank you very much.  Inoffensive, a pleasant jaunt, it is important to keep compilations diverse ‘Smile Again’ seems a quite apposite title.  This Is Not A Drill glisten, grow, grind out the acoustic activity known as 'Feels So Right To Me' - a corrosive song that blends many sub-layers with the orthodox arrangement of the song and football chant-esque chorus almost reminiscent of something Euro-Oi-ish.  There are no real frills here, the approach is head-down and simple and this is one of the first tracks that undoubtedly sticks in the noggin.  Alas longevity may be the lacking ingredient - only time will tell. The main winning aspect is the dirty overlay, the somewhat grubby upper layers to the whole delivery - I do like a bit of crud!

'Talking Road' by Ahia is scuzz-surging sonica built on the fundamentals of DIY dabbling, urgency and contrast.   The song sprints from the off, eases on the accelerator and throws in a cruising chorus before repeating the rotation and making for a somewhat complete song.  The production values are crummy - I am wondering if this helps matters or hinders them - it certainly breeds character.  The band do veer a little off track and become a little too 'cock-rock' during the midway point - sometimes these musicians just get carried away.  Ache jump in next and offer a bit of 'Steel', a song that has a lightweight feel via the thoughtful vocals that merely caress the substrate of sound and leave it to get on with its highly active thing.  Glass-light refractions, hard riffs, pondering moments and robust rushes all clash and collide and leave one in the midst of 'indecision'.  The song never fully realises its potential, comes across as an unsure indified offering that fails to ignite any true passion within this sonic soul at least.  There is great movement amidst the writhing melody, there has been some thought put into the creative process but all the while I find myself just on the outside looking in.

Unwashed fuzzery comes with an almost mock-grunge number striving for attention and just falling short of the necessary grade.  AFK donate 'Call To Arms' and attempt to combine emotive threat, cool ill-temper, explosive frustration and billowing bomb-blasts.  All aspects arise from moments of consideration but this is a song that needs pure, exact recording standards and here, the end blend fails to deliver.  The song tempts one though, I reckon in a 'live' situation this one would be a stunner and reflective of a band set to attain greater heights - we shall see!  The Luddite Collective kick up the dirt with a sub-techno, pseudo trance chant known as 'Refuse, Rise Up, Resist' an interesting upchuck of experimental rebellion with wired and wanked weavings making for a mush of tonal twiddling that starts with good preparation before dissolving into a repeat-slam of rant-o-mania that is a little too basic for its own good.  The style though has great potential, there is room to build and hey, the message is very much needed in this day and age.

The last 3, Before They Are Hanged shake their 'Clenched Fist' and give a sweet touch to the CD with a neat little number tattooed with melodic nuances, harder angles and an escorting vocal abrasion that gives the song extra character.  The band go through the mid-paced motions with a punkoid erudition very much exposed.  From the opening drum flutter and bass layer through to the shout outs and well-arranged segments of the song I think this one works with a slow simmering subtlety - I suspect the band have a lot more in reserve.  Ferox Fucking Ferox come next, spill their guts with 'Digging Two Graves', a song that pounds in, races along with amphetamine urgency and gets the job done in a time longer than expected.  The length of the discordant dongler is down to the crew taking time out to sonically strut, pronounce with greater deliberation and indulge in some typical H/C posturing - and why not!  A decent upchuck of noise this - right from the realms of a certain slamming and bamming genre.

We finish up with 'Truth Untold' by Chain of Dissent, another raging inferno of sound, this time with sinews seared, muscles pulled tight and the old sonic sphincter adopting a vice-like clench.  An unapologetic roar-laden song that emanates a potent disgust and finalises this CD with an incandescent punctuation mark that many will surely find difficult to disagree with.  The band remain tight and stay true to the structure of sound.  The offering may be of a certain ilk but hey, what isn't these days?

So 15 tracks of vary violence, 15 tracks done for a very good cause.  Some of the offerings I love, some I am not keen on, others I can take or leave dependant on the mood.  This may not be the most impacting collection of the series so far but it is the most varied and unexpected which, in itself, is perhaps far more successful.  Now I have done my bit I expect you to do the same - get this CD, simple hey!

 

LUCY AND THE RATS - DARK CLOUDS/GET DOWN

Via Dirty Water Records comes the latest Lucy and the Rats single, a band I have reviewed on 4 previous occasions and, in the main, a band who have brought much listening pleasure to the rhythmically hammered belfry of yours truly.  I am hoping for something equally gratifying here and at the same time keeping the fingers crossed for something new to challenge the cranial gunk - the people tell me I ask for too much, hey ho, the people can say what they want!

Side A brings about a ditty entitled 'Dark Clouds' and almost immediately we are beneath a light rain of gently melody, inoffensive ease and of lightweight accents.   The crew cultivate this kind of sugar-drop sweetness without effort, the strain is unassuming, subtle but very appealing with the twinkle-toed guitar supported by some steady bass lines and necessary sticks that flutter and roll with a natural presence thus giving the song that extra punch.  The vocals are as expected and are simply ideal for this kind of popsicle parading.  The heavens may be losing light but the glow from the rotating circle of sound is enough to keep us all awake.  A nifty number of a tonal pleasantness almost from when times were a little less complicated - I for one, appreciate that!

The alternative side is a more mellow and somewhat dreary number and roams along under the tab of 'Get Down' - how appropriate!  From the off things are listless, touched with a verbal admittance of feeling on the brink of sheer hopelessness.  The song is given some hope via the strains of the wintery sunshine tickles and the melody that is perhaps a little too slow for my liking but one that has all the elements the band blend so darn well.  The undulations are ambiguous, the pulse of the song chilled and the end mix perfectly lucid - I do prefer the more 'smile-inducing' stuff though but also appreciate the need for contrast!

2 songs, 1 I like, 1 I am not keen on.  Lucy and the Rats have a nice vibe going though. tis nowt new but they do what they do well and I am always keen to listen in and scribble a few honest words - I can't say fairer than that!

   

SHEAFS - VOX POP

Released on Blood Records this 5 track sonic shifter comes from a Sheffield-based band who certainly have things to say and a musical flow to be quite taken by.  The crew move with incessant desire, create a full-on saturation of sound that wins some appreciative favour from this end.  The music has a notable bite, a commercialised style and a certain punk-esque disillusionment that appeals to my eclectic sensors.   Without further ado I take the plunge, this is the result of the usual scribblings.

'Thinking Out Loud' expresses itself with a certain honesty slammed forth on a robust substrate of sound not to be underestimated.   From the off this powerful episode of saturated and imposing noise is a real treat with the inner flame glowing bright and certainly burning the retinas and eardrums of this passing partaker.  The industrial beat begins; a spiral sensation ensues with a strict regulation dictating all.  Frustration with the growing populace, the imbalance and a skewed situation getting worse comes, the verbal donation is clean, lucid but activated by deep emotion and is an ideal partner to a climatic cacophony that blows mighty hard.  The resistance to the dumbing down, the final kick-back and the whip up of the sonic storm is done to a tee - yeah man, Fungal is convinced.  'World Is Falling Apart' is a mid-paced roll out with equal disillusionment and equal musical prowess.  The pace may be just lacking but the band do themselves sound justice with a sawing and gnawing escapade that sharply cuts and moves and with a certain muscular grace that avoids being overly vulgar and exhibitionist.  There is something sinewy and embracing here - all that is needed is just that little extra kick, hey ho, one can't have everything!

'Total Vanity' is a pertinent piece of music with a message to all those conned, beaten and chasing one big self-indulgent lie.  Within the thrust of the vibrology the cause and effect relationship of a social pit gone skewwhiff is exposed, the players hit a point of realisation, wake up and smell the shit being flung – they kick back with a song I hope many take heed of.  Too many are self-absorbed, too many go through motions demanded - I hope they use this tune as a kick-back starter.   The gumption oozed, the momentum and the pace all combine to win the day - onto the last two I go, highly expectant of the same standard!

'Shopping' deals with a theme that I am highly frustrated by, namely the fucking society that spends, spends, and spends on things not needed, on things used as a booster to a self-confidence that is utterly and desperately fucked.  The world turns on a mass of tumbling coins with consumerism a faux-therapy for problems severely deep-rooted.  No wonder change cannot be made and the world cannot not improve if people are stuck in some shopping centre spending for the fuckin' sake of it and somehow...justifying it.  The approach of the song is perhaps the coolest yet and tries to ease an inner stress by keeping the foot off the gas and making observations with a certain aloofness.  It is my least favourite snippet so far, I would have liked the emotions too have multi-culminated in an explosion of virulent rage – despite these personal desires though, the song is a decent do.

'Care Less' pronounces, goes for it, and travels with the now recognisable tonality that really does encapsulate a band in a winning groove.  The liquidity of this closing escapade has a complete authority, moves to echelons higher and exudes a stamping demand that squeezes out more than just aural attention.  The message is avalanching, it builds and builds with a thick-skin called for and a certain focus required.  The backstabbers, down-shouters and fuck-wit doubters are everywhere, always looking to feed on the positivity of others, swallow it large and spit it back in a globule of negativity that indicates another sad sac who is better off dead.  There is a certain uplifting value here and the louder one plays the greater the effect it has.  A fine finish if ever I heard one.

And yes, you better believe it you bastards, this Fungal pig is convinced and I would be intrigued to see where these dudes go with a very promising sound.  The 5 track treat passed my way via Prescription Press and has been well received and I hope I have given a good insight into what has transpired - one tries one's best!

   

THE WHITE RIBBONS - SELF-TITLED EP

I recently saw this lot play a gig in Manchester, they came, threw together a quite accomplished set and exhibited a social conscience that is never a bad thing.  A few of the songs were absolutely outstanding, several highly intoxicating and one or two thoroughly jig-tastic.  Messages were spilled with fervour, some I agreed with, some I didn't (hey that's life and David Bowie is still a dubious character) but all in all I was very much taken by what was transmitted my way and was quite happy to accept a CD and scribble my thoughts.  Here I have 3 tracks to tease my tonal taste-buds - come the end I may be spitting back the sonic offering or duly swallowing like an eager beaver - either way this twat will be true to the cause and try his best to make a pertinent assessment.

'1 In 6' hollers in, has a coursing lifeblood borne from a copulation of scenes gone by, accents from different angles and a caring interruption where the end sound is considered.  There is a wholesome honesty within the weft of the rhythm, the opening vocals accentuate this fact with their lucid ease and easily embraced openness.  The backdrop of sound smoothly moves with regulation pushes and skanked moments sweetly blended together and making for a quite appealing listen.   The inner waltz around I consider a faux pas although it is tidily posted and enhances the wander to the final silence.  Yes, I am more than a little convinced here by a band who have many layers to still reveal.   A neat and level bass-line opens 'Burst' before pronouncing strums come and a casual lick draws us gently by the hand into the folds of the musical escapade proper.  Tonal thermality is lowered, again the oral offerings are clear and progress with little fuss whilst retaining a certain ambiguity within the poetical labyrinth.  The strolling song has a somewhat disillusioned and 'fuck it all' comfort that really gets beneath my eternally troubled and questioning skin.  It seems a moment in time to reflect, take stock, admit the fight is uphill and then carry on regardless - oh aye.  Overall this is a minor song of accomplished proportions that really drops back to pre-punk and post-punk times grabbing elements from both generic pools and then adding some - nice!The finale comes via 'Greatest Man' and after the initial snigger and stage setting strums we get a mild melody to absorb whilst taking heed of a tale regarding a fucker fading, an ego now falling into the realms of nowhere, a passing trend now destined for the filing cabinet 'has been'.  A song of change, a mellow creation of hopes lost, of times too difficult to keep up with, I find this a complete construction from first to last with the band sanguine and sure of what they want to achieve and how to go about it.  I think this one adds a firm punctuation at the end of this 3-way statement - good work fellas.

So, I have delved further, examined a few more episodes of WR goodness and find myself still in situation 'convinced'.  I am no fool though, all could turn to shit very soon and too many slaps on the back and false words could easily corrupt the focus and fuck up the output - White Ribbons, my challenge is simple, carry on in your own style, fuck em' all and keep the thought processes behind the output flowing.

   
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