FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
 
 

BENJAMIN MASON - WASTE MANAGEMENT VOL 1

Experimental dabblings are always a test of ones reviewing mettle - I mean if one is honest and fair things can either come out favourable or utterly damning - I hope people reading this see how I operate and that I never shy away from truth, from being considerate and from taking in all angles.   Time is spent, I won't be rushed, and when keys tap out the assessment I like to think that the requesting Welsh fiddler has had a fair crack of the fungal whip.

We begin with the scuttle-bucket fracturisation of 'Retrospective Progression', a King-Kong summon from deepest, darkest desolation - it is a mere intro for better things to come.  'Horsebite (featuring Chloe Laing)' is a pleasant waltz disturbance tilting the sonic sensors to angles 'unorthodox'.  The jerking working arouses inner senses left dormant for perhaps too long, the sub-sexual grooming is a computing treat for voyeurs of the gratifyingly grotesque and one they may duly get off to whilst masturbating to the rhythm and spasmodically writhing in troubled turmoil.  The essences work together, work apart, the Euro-erotica overtones are certainly not lost and for me this one works mighty well.  'Mermalade' poses amid falling waterfalls of multi-hued extravagance, all the while radiating refreshing tonal glistenings laden with sanguine lifeblood that feeds ones cacophonic vampiric desires.  We are left to bathe in a spring of serenity, to swill in a hydro-acoustic neverworld of 'harp-ing' ripples and ascending strums.  Shifts come and are delicately made, the force of the moving waters gently increase, we reach the final resting place with an harmony achieved.  From the limpid pool we rise to walk into a verdant tropical paradise were repetitive susurrations and rear jungle jangles emanate and give suggestion of clockwork creature, neon fungi and digital delights as yet, undiscovered.  I wander with the musical escort, am jarred by a moment of rocky terrain and come away with bleeding critical feet.  The 'Loaf' has been partaken of, with this moment I am still undecided.

'Gnosis' is a tentative number, hiding in the shadows, peering and wondering whether or not to come forth and create an extravagance.  We stay within a forested twilight and never really see the light of potential day, we remain enshrouded by dew-dropped suggestion in a niche where overlooked critters scurry and attend to various sonic needs - is this a good thing, it all depends on the mood.  'Hello You Halloumi' is a bag of mechanoid nerves, lacks initial oil before a fly in the ointment flutters and adds a touch of animation that sets the whole machine moving.  Individual components work alone and as part of the automated fiend borne from a land not too far distant from Metropolis.  The stuttering imagery created is digitised with a myriad of gremlins working hard to paradoxically deconstruct whilst effortlessly constructing.  There is a rhythm to the reason, a methodology to the madness, the end result though is tilted but leaves a good impression nonetheless.

The dreamscape shifts, we jump headlong into the next panorama of cerebral sightseeing...

...and enter 'Guided Missile', a flutter fly-by that dissects the thinking, has one reaching up and grasping at fresh air and then wondering....why!  I like this one, the fleeting ambiguity, the delicacy that just touches the taste-buds rather than bombards them, the placements are considered and the end blend convincing - go dangle the angle ma'an.  'Label Francais' is akin to a home-made movie with, as far as I see it, a montage of personal clips moulded around a backbone of tin-tapping tomfoolery.  An odd piece (well aren't they all), perhaps scary in some ways, too repetitive in others, a bit simple for many but there are no expectations here and this is an artiste copying, cutting and pasting onto the sable slab of silence and having a go - it is just that I am not keen on the result here but that doesn't make it a duffer.  'Jazz Rhythm' perhaps suggests where our creator is shooting from, an ad-hoc arena built on feel and reaction, a disjointed garden of unearthly delights that mesmerises, befuddles, eludes. The entire work has a jerk, a rhythm, a shaded coolness found within a dappled niche on a sunny, yet untrustworthy, vista.  The creation is the complete article though and throws us into the cough and splutter arthritic shambles known as 'Elecy'.  Short-circuits abound, back-firing sockets explode with seeming poltergeistic activity, an initial ectoplasm is seen to ooze from many electro portals were life springs eternal - I shouldn't be, but I am absorbed and wondering where all this is coming from and leading to.

The final breakdown comes with 'Toads In Brine' - a sonic spasmo spitting offensive tonal insults and throwing the head this way and that without apology.  Tis a white fuzz fucker that rapes, pillages and leaves one beaten.  It is an intergalactic apocalypse built on digitised deviancy and after being aurally clattered and battered I run and seek refuge in the safety of something more palatable.   The cruelty comes with one last vaporising vindictiveness - hurtful man, hurtful.

Musical blasphemy with a persuasive edge that will undoubtedly upset and corrupt the many, entertain the few and all the while, cause blood to trickle from a whole host of lugholes.  It is what it is, as music it is judged harshly, as art it is judged favourably, as a hybrid between the two, it ticks all the tilted boxes.

   

SUICIDE GENERATION - PRISONER OF LOVE

Fast fuck recklessness shot through with a discordance best described as 'diseased', this London-based outfit spasmodically fuck with all aspects of the rock and roll arena and come up smelling of decaying sonic roses.  The emitted toxicology is without apology, is splattered over your attentive cranial walls with wild abandon whilst all the while just about hanging on to something one could foolishly regard as 'rhythmic'.  Here we get 3 tracks puked up onto our ever-eager laps (we should know better) and I waste no time in offering up my carcass as a humble sacrifice to the potential mayhem.

'Prisoner Of Love' quickly requests permission to enter with a robust tub-thump, it refuses to wait for the reply and races forth into your complacent comfort zone of silence before trashing the tranquillity with a hot-venomed rapier thrust that cuts to the chase and gets the job done without any piss-arse ponsing.  The band have a style that I have become familiar with, they play with a carelessness very much appreciated and always walk a tightrope of danger that will be just too much for many.  The ones who like things on the cusp, the scraggy dogs who like to piss from a great height and fall and fail with flamboyance will relish this scuzzed up delightful disaster.  I turn up the volume, absorb the abrasive and perilous filth...and love it!

'Shitty In The City' is a mid-paced grind with many proto-punk elements, glamified defiances and a rasping lick as deliciously groovy as you can wish for.  Due to the pace the clarity of the mix is slightly heightened and the old school rock and roll vibrations are snottily souped up with a sure-fire gumption and raw-dog riffery that this sniffing scoundrel is happy to hang around.  The deranged designs that the bands acoustic excrement is usually streaked with are kept in check here and we get a good separating slice between two more incandescent eruptions – nice!

'Rotten Mind Digital' rips it up, hits a new zenith of discordant desperation with the players well and truly off the leash and taking great chunks out of your fleeing heels. Sharp bone sawing radiance is emitted from a crew on fire and crackling with an overspill of hysterical eagerness that brings about a song of rattling punk magnitude not to be underestimated.   Short and sweet is always the way, these days this beautiful form gets neglected due to folk wallowing in indulgence, they are missing a very exhilerating thing.

It is more than obvious that this band don't give a fuck and play with a wild abandon and see what comes.  I have brandished the critical boot in the past, here I don't need to, 3 tracks that grow in stature with the last of the trio a short and skewering punk punctuation right up my shabby street - ta!

   

THE SHADY POETS - TO DIE LAUGHING

The Shady Poets are not willing to fall into any specific category and play out their vibrations with a constantly shifting style that keeps me highly entertained and wondering.  They are due to make their second appearance on a Fungalised fiasco in a couple of months, in the meantime these Blackpool based blighters have offered me this 4 track teaser as an aperitif.  Will I gulp down and be sated, will I be merely left gagging for more or indeed just left gagging - everyone knows what to expect by now, apologies I have none.

'Less Gone' is a slick dick that slides into my aural anus and initially bums out a verdict of 'unsure'.  The sonic shafting is partaken of over and over again (it is 'my only weakness') and I get into the rhythm of the piece and appreciate what is going on.  My critical sphincter relaxes, respite is taken and I defecate an opinion of decisive indecision (perfectly paradoxical methinks).    The classy elements are all paraded with the guitars in-line, delightfully embellished and with a spine of stickwork to make sure they don't get carried away anytime soon.  I like this one, the vocal textures, the musical escort all grow like the tendrils of ivy up the stonewall of my ticker - I must be going soft in my old age.

'Unclosed' works in with subdued abrasiveness before picking up a cock-rock riff.  The haunted and slightly hollowed vocals add mystery, keep things slightly tattooed with darkened threads and make sure the band strive with all their natural might to maintain a certain 'very own' sound.   This is not punk, why the Hell should it be, tis a 4 track offering played by musicians stretching and expressing.  The mode here is awash with darker rock elements, swaying with a deliberate ploy to enfold the listener with swathes of bandaging chords and subtle atmospherics, I think the lads nail it in their own rewarding way.

'The Sleeper Pt2' is cultured, moves in on lightened tones with a morose aspect sweetly contrasting.  The song shift-shapes, caresses the upper layers of the recording surface, exhibits inner strains of sub-gothika, breaks into a commercialised exposure that is all done to a very rewarding standard.  The band stray a little too far into the realms of spandex and visions of noticeable nobs and nuts invade my rather disturbed panorama of life.  There is a lot to be said for confounding one's senses though and here success may be found.  I am not the greatest fan of this one though, I like my bollocks more bared but when the upshift comes the band excel in no uncertain terms and some rock operatics are suggested.  I have one leg dangling on each side of the fence here, I just wish I would have worn thicker underpants!

'Shadow Of The Tower' moves at a fluttering pace, brings out the best of the band with the verse and chorus fitting perfectly together with nervous energy and relaxed prowess complimenting in the extreme and exposing a band not just thinking on their feet.  I find this one a most permeating number that sticks like a burdock bur on the kecks of interest and no matter how hard I try it will not be shaken off.  There is a real accomplished sound created, something that certainly exposes the nouse and know-how of our plucking and clattering pirates.  I like this one very much, does it show?

So, at the end of the day, The Shady Poets do things their own way, fuck off the expectations and as a result come up with something of a change for this clattered and battered bastard.  I think eclectic values should always be thrown around and gigs should be of as many flavours as possible and here we have a band who should be a choice condiment added to many cacophonic dishes.  What I have seen and heard so far I am convinced by, here I would say it is a 3 out of 4 strike rate, I am already looking forward to witnessing these songs in the flesh - I may even do a review - keep yer orbs peeled.

   

PETE BENTHAM & THE DINNER LADIES - ENGLANDS UP FOR SALE

Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies are good!  Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies play darn fine kitchencore!  Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies hail from Liverpool - hey well, you can't win em' all (snigger, snigger).  Here I get the chance to perform an autopsy on their latest gut spill and will do so with sharpened knives of honesty, the odd rusty spoon of critique and a stout appliance that can get into all the nooks and crannies and reveal any hidden subtleties or unwanted wayward warts - I best get me gloves out!

A flex of the assessing fingers, a crack of the knuckles and in I delve, grabbing hold of the initial acoustic organ known as 'Brick'.  A strict stick tap, a statement to show that business is meant, a fluent chorus burst comes, the saxy serpent soups things up, we duly repeat and I am all agog.  An inner verbalised moment follows, the bass is a minor dictator, all the while the tympanic department adheres to its routine, adds a final flourish of splash and crash and we are done - I feel invigorated, I feel ready to throw a lump of rock, now look what you have done!  'Controlled By Buildings' is a bare-bollocked song in many respects, in others a weaving snake in the ass, exploring one’s inner sanctum of interest and trying darn hard to cultivate a foot-tapping response.  The metronome-like sticks lead into almost automaton based utterances that reflect the overall dictation sought, all done in a somewhat monochromatic style.  The sax invades and offers a rebellious streak, all the while the encroaching suffocation seems to hold the upper hand.  The most striking aspect of this tune is the angularity, the risk taken to throw it into the mix so early on and the slowly winning repetition that pecks at resistance and leaves one picking up on the thread - interesting to say the least.

A swift scorch, a peregrination along urgent trackways, the first verse of 'Goth Postman' is souped up with a surging sensation brought about by the hop-at-it drums and scuff-mark string application.  A planing out process comes via the smooth chorus, a whispered confession and of course snazzy wind work that takes the whole episode to a different level.  The harmonised lasses add an effective lilt, the build-up to the finish is as enthused as ever, the last guitar grumble finishing things off quite nicely thank you.  I find 'England's Up For Sale' a cleverer song, with its naked bog basic opening, the slow ascension via snake-charming exhalations and the overall ponderous way in which a certain sadness and regret is woven into the texture of a song dealing with a situation turned 'laughable'.  The country we know and love is a shithole going down the pan and now in danger of sinking further into the mire and being one long comedic saga.  The band play things cool here, approach a touchy subject on tentative tones, tones perhaps that mirror the thinking of a community fractured, fed up and now fuckin' clueless.  This is a convincing switch in tempo and adds a new facet to the CD thus far - I have no gripes.

'Let's Drive' calls upon the fundamentals of rock and roll noise, has many clichés, is run on cornball fuel and is a rough and ready journey to say the least...and I fuckin' love it.  Fuck all insightful pretentiousness and trying to over-dissect a song that is nothing more than a jerky jaunt that picks up the spirits and questions the mentality of the posers who waste fuel, contribute fuck all and just cruise to 'nowhere'.  Ooh I am all a-quiver.  'Genres' wank walks with a jittery framework liable to give those of a nervous disposition the colly-wobbles.  The stature is strong, given flexibility by brassage in the back passage and a heavily woven bass drive that works alongside a pecking question of why the fuck do we have all these labels.  The song stamps its sonic feet, takes a more whispered approach, signs out with a frustrated fist against the discordant desk - we are left wondering if the question has been answered, if our listening needs have been satisfied - I have no complaints thus far!

Jazzy cymbal suggestions, cool slightly hazy accoutrements, an idling acceptant vocal style, 'There Goes The Neighbourhood' plays it minimal, works with a slow deliberate routine, is languorous in a warped kind of way and seems to wallow in a self-made vat of situational misery.  The song may not be a great pick-me-up, it may indeed be classed as a right wretched snippet of reality-soaked honesty - I am not overly keen but it is a necessary component of the CD so far.  'Free Hugs For Thugs' is a cure-all, a lively antidote for the previous bout of soporific sonica - I take it, turn it up loud and duly indulge.  The energy and vitality works well, is nothing new but doesn't need to be.  It cracks on, gets the gears turning again and wakes up the inner attentive neurones and gets the foot tapping.  The blend of components is good but is nothing too professional and always exhibits a DIY strain - of course this appeals to this hungry dog and as I pop out my lipstick I piss up the lamppost of your possible indifference with my tail wagging and dash onto the last batch of 3.

'It's Better To Be Good (Than A Hood)' is wise wordage, sung with an almost Christian-advising slant that I am sure will get right up the schonkers of many self-appointed pure punksters.  So what - the lilt is fine, the drift casually effective and the message bang on - I am all for tearing up that shitty rulebook.  The genteel consideration and sing-a-long sway is good enough for me – my advice to others – ‘get over it’ or ‘have a stiff wank’.  'A Bas le Caviar Viva Le Kebab' is a simplistic wraparound of nonsensical nob-rottery.  Scuzzed strings cut through the silence, shifty serenades via the viper piper come with the vocals as you would expect.  This is a funny one to assess, I am torn like an indecisive anus after a right old sonic rogering - is it wrong to feel this way? And so, whilst left in a huffing and puffing heap I replay, find nothing offensive but then again, I find nothing to create some tit-tingling action - I scrawl a verdict of indifference - I feel such a pedant!

We close with a real anti-punk stance of 'Always Say Thank You (To The Driver Of The Bus)' - a real two-fingered salute to those who think spikiness is borne from a fuck-you rather than a sincere politeness that can make bigger waves and change so much.  We have here a mere 'Handful Of Songs' moment, sang with disarming sincerity and with a subtle depth that gets one thinking about those that have arrived, have done their work and help in so many understated ways.  It is not a moment to pogo to, it is not a final bomb-blast to sign out a CD in vibrant style, it is an episode that encapsulates what Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies do - for that we should all be grateful and perhaps...perplexed.

The only thing one can expect from this lot is...the unexpected.  'Live' they are exceptional, on CD I think there is still more to come but here, well they do what they do and in many instances thrill, in a few places leave me cold, in others they have me scratching my bonse smiling.  I was a fan, I am a fan and I suggest many more hop on board and enjoy something a little off kilter.

   

REBECCA RADICAL - BAKEY BAM EP

Rebecca radical - still in the embryonic stages, still asking questions and still soaked through with a blend of musical youthfulness, insightful words and a somewhat glorious innocence of tone.  Slowly and steadily there is a metamorphosis taking place but the emphasis is on 'slowly'.  I examine here, roll around the palette and then set about speeding things up a little - in the purest Fungalised way of course.

'Council House Warriors' comes in, gently scuffles, brings forth our lass’s lovely tones, keeps it simple and offers up sound advice.   I have known many folk stuck in a rut, wasting time, wasting lives, dragging each other down the same disposal unit chute and ending up in a defeated heap - they really do need focusing and shaking down.  Here our plucker takes the polite way, the wise way and does so with a short sharp tickle of uncomplicated musicianship - easy enough.

'Hippy Cunt' takes a role of long-haired investigator, sat on a self-made DIY pedestal whereupon lots of thought is given to life and what the fuck it is all about.  We get a mere snippet of the thought processes going through the plucking philosophers mind, it is done on a flat-line basis and lacks any variety and may I say 'wallop'.  As per, I realise that the lass at the helm is in the early stages, that is no excuse to play it safe and be afraid of exposing warts - here's is my first kick up the creator’s arse - I hope it gets her thinking and she realises it is done with the best possible intent - oof!

'Monogamy' is a regulated rhythm and a song that tears up the rulebook of relationships and will leave many ruffled.  I am a great believer in faithfulness, love and playing it straight with a good person, a lover, a friend and a lifelong soulmate.  I disagree with the sentiments here but am not one to lay down rules for how others live as long as they do no harm - and therein we have a whole web of problems and the key to the conundrum - 'harm'.  This song needs more work for sure, is too flat and is almost a monologue with some stringed assistance - I am not keen in many ways but love the spirit!

'He Said' has a good wrist-flick, opens on uplifting oral offerings, then digs one into the ribs of that particular species of man who likes to control, be at the helm and always live by the orthodox and the ego-driven.  Alas, these fuckers are in the majority, they create layers, sub-divisions and untold societal problems and I personally loathe the fuckin' lot of them.  This is a decent drift, all is lacking is some accoutrements of angled tonality - maybe a brass attack, a keyed corruption, it must be remembered that the acoustic approach has its limitations and the listener cannot survive on words alone.

The final fling of the wire-wobbling five with 'Royal Fucking What' persistently pecking away with lightly industrious strumming that shows a good sense of time and a great degree of consistency with one or two moments showing that the artiste is slowly starting to flex her wings and throw in the odd change in drift.  A dig at the imbalance between the parasites and the hosts is always welcome, this gets on with it, says its piece and abruptly signs off.

So 5 more from this young whipper snapper who is keen, a real doofer and saying her most crucial piece.  Now though is the time to step back and consider this first phase of creation done and dusted, now is the time to up the game and build upon these foundations.  As stated, acoustic creations have limits, we have reached those and for me a snippet of awkwardness, unexpected angularity and roaring madness needs to be included.  Soundbites and the use of extra instrumentation are the keys then fly onwards ye Radical one to pastures of promise and lands of new success.  I shall have my assessing binoculars ready and waiting and watching which way the wind blow ya – think on.

 

MUTAGENICOS - 3

Mutagénicos' keep the international flavour of the Dirty Water stable and make sure the vibes are kept in some respect lo-fi, spacious and with a distinct leaning towards the fundamentals of rock and roll.  Lyrically I am lost as I am not adept in the lingo donated but, as per, I'll have a good fuckin' go at trying to sum up the vibrations on show and try and give you an insight into what the fuck is going down ma'an.

'Lo Que Digan De Mi' staggers in like an inebriate borne from darkened dells where impish jive-asses tickle away and create interesting vibes that seem to be forever restless and wayward but are just about restrained and held firm against an inner backbone of structural quality.   Certain space-age essences fly through the shape-shifting montage, fidget-fuck animation keeps the listener alert for any perilous blips, the coming together of all components is found to be waterproof, melodic and, in some off-hand way - appealing.  'Actualice Su Fe' is a quick trundle of tonality starting with semi-harsh guitars, going through a somewhat honest and sub-garaged verse and then dishing up a chorus that,   for me a least, is a little too blended into the substrate of the song.  Overlooking this minor niggle I can honestly say the song gets on with matters, refuses to fuck about and ain't a bad jaunt and jig at all - one has to be fair don't ya know!

'La Cumbia De La Muerta' begins with a 'feelgood' suggestion, struts a certain kinky stuff that brings together several essences and a 'Noir-esque' mystery that immediately absorbs.  The whispering cymbals, the 'Wilko J-ayed' bass pulse, the rich ornamentation of the vocals and the pseudo-guitar all creep in a shifty manner towards destination 'who knows where'.  Ascensions taken are light, circus-themed intrusions add to the unease, a moment of collapse is indulged in and indicates a band very much on a sonic safety wire - I think they make it to the end here in tact - phew.

'Autocontrol' is a chipper chirper chiming in with a feel-good sub-surfy rhythm that has all the ingredients to make one get up and dance.  The quirky opening leads to a strict verse that eventually develops into a growing groove with slight flexibility giving the band room to strut their own individual thing and yet stay as one throughout the rather pleasant distance.  The whole essence is smile inducing, there is nothing too political or profound going on here.  'Eres El Mejor' has one ensnared straight from the off with a jerky weaving that entwines itself around your aurally observing radar with each tone picked up full of plucky pep and easy does it effect.  The key poppings help matters no end, give an earthy rock and roll feel and carry the band to the apex of the tune that is nicely swollen with rewarding elevations - I am convinced.  Next up and 'Resetear' screws in, comes to earth on muffled rotor-blades of bass-ed effect, switches to flight mode 'melodic', stops, starts, glistens and stutters.  All the while I await an adherence that gives the song a flowing completion, a holistic unity between all sub-sections that finalise a number with high animation - I feel as though I am always left deflated and...in some ways...confused.  The song is neatly played, vigorous and happening but just a trifle out of sync with itself.  I re-listen, strive darn hard to muster some further excitement, I remain as per and judge this as a middling effort.

And onwards, 'Darlo Todo' begins with funky monkey fruitiness, richly progresses on the bare minimum, rolls with an almost ad hoc response to the self-made sound and all the while gives hint of a patchwork procedure one can't actually decipher.   The conundrum may confound if one considers too deeply but for me, if one sticks to the upper surface that is sharp, catchy and played without too much fuss, the pleasure will be easy to find.  'He Venido A Buscarte' is a chirpy little character, bounces along on decent discordant heels whilst all the while keeping things scrubbed up, neat and tidy and without any raucous vulgarity.  Tis music to play between blasting heave-ho's - something to soothe the soul after being clattered - just what the Doctor of Madness ordered.

The last 3, 'Idiota' is a scuzz-infused surger that flows along on throwback machinations that are invaded with lo-fi/sci-fi sensations and all the while kept in close association with things sub-blue'd.  The verse is regular, strums, states and progresses, the pseudo chorus is almost hidden in the depths.  We get a short musical interlude where sonic saucers swoop and a renewed energy is found to take the song to the final throes - I am considering this the most intriguing snippet of the lot and the most rewarding!  Tis a late bonus for sure! 'Menos Mal' uses old rock and roll corned tinklings mixed with harmonised hollerings and swinging squeaky clean melodies that at times fail to raise the interest level above grade 'average'.  This is a shame as I was on a high from the previous offering but there ya go - the good, the bad, the ugly are always close bed partners.  We close with 'Muerte Marte', a fuck about, an experimentation, a mere combination kick of verbals, outer space suggestion and more Noir-esque noodle-ism.  It is a throwaway piece, it adds an uncertainty to the CD as a whole and makes the future ambiguous - this could be a good thing!

An odd one this, I think it is intended to be that way and even though all is not to my liking I am happy to have travelled into the tonal territory and considered the vibrations emitted.  In the midst of many musical styles this is best tossed in, as part of a multi-flavoured listening dish it will be an ideal complement, a warning is given though not to overdose - there is nothing worse than a period of sonic shits!

   

STEVE IGNORANT'S SLICE OF LIFE - DON'T TURN AWAY

A name from the scene, a name held in awe by many, a name that make cause a tilt in worlds spilled!  Not so here, this no-name, in a nowhere sub-scene holds no favours and works damned hard to hold his teetering and much pressurised position on the brittle ladder of honesty whilst trying to clean many clouded windows and achieve something akin to decent transparency.  The ex-singer of Crass is at the helm here and although I was very much a fan of the anarcho band back in the day I shall not be swayed and take the CD, like all CD's, and judge on the content alone.  Big A, Little A, Bouncing B, they might have fuckin' had ya but they ain't having me!

'Don't Turn Away' a wretched number of deep-rooted dirge-esque sadness borne from a position of pissing in the wind, considering, pissing some more and then finally wondering 'what's the fuckin' point'.  Life goes on, protesting and kicking happens, the question of what difference it makes is one that always arises and sometimes, one feels beaten and out of ideas.  The key is to dig deep, never give in, listen to the inner heartbeat and move on.  Here the ticker is persistently bass'ed, backed by soothing she-caresses whilst the front man gobs off, submerges himself in an ocean of emotions and comes up...with even more questions.  It is a provoking piece of work, structured with minimalism and adorned with street-prose, I think it works a treat and gets the CD trickling the right way!

'Your Day Will Come' is really not my bag, it is a seething affair which is all well and good and promises that the dogs will bite and there are many evil doers who will get theirs.  I can't fault that either neither can I pick apart the lyrical content and manipulation but the morose accents, the wank sub-jazz dabbling and the almost disjointed dabbling gets on my tonal tits and no matter how hard I try I just can't get into the groove with this one - fuck it, tis better than telling lies.  'The Right Way' corrects the matters that have gone AWOL with a lullaby trinket dangled forth to arouse initial curiosity.  Once we peer more closely we soon get ensnared by a webbing of one-upmanship built on nothing more than petty self-justification, ego and nasty fuckin' spite.  In this world of anti-social media and fuck-faux celebrity we have many who know best and are happy to let you know it.  The self-appointed controllers and fonts of knowledge jack off with utter pseudo-joy as the cranial juice schemes and dreams and spits up vitriol and methodology built on misinformation and misery.  The song here exposes the end result, a prisoner - it is as simple as that!

'S. A. D.' is a beautiful moment, both articulate and appealing with an inherent gracefulness that assists the overwhelming bewilderment and creates a sensation of paradoxical sagacity and yet without giving any true answers.  The lack of progress, the passing of the blame, the circles forever wandered - the feeling that others know better when deep down, we know the fuckers don't.  The soul is restless, the tranquil waters over which it is buoyed is performed via the slight of an insightful majestic hand as keys are tinkled, soft oral caresses come and we are duly floated...astray.  I am convinced here, there are several layers that need exploring, thoughtful fathoms to sink within - bear with me.

'Slaughterhouse' creeps, beetles, takes to the air whilst the foaming frontman eases turmoil and refuses to be 'had' and bow down and beg.  The promises offered are seen as fraudulence, the discovery of such an enlightening situation is enhanced by a quite perky chorus that really does raise the refusing hackles and gives one a certain kick up the arse and simply says 'watch your step mate'.  The fuckers are waiting to have you, on your toes you have to be, loyalty is called for, a faithfulness to things fair, those that matter and not things you are led to believe are true.  I love this one, it picks me up, it is good to know others are walking against the grain.  'The Story Continues' is a tender wondering moment that asks why so many lack realisation, overlook crimes of hate, continue to make noise and actually cause no disturbance - I think they are the ultimate losers.  The simmering resentment is not to be taken lightly here and as one oral offering threatens to blow a fuse, another brings a soothing balance and adds a therapy and sense of composure very much needed.  The ill temper soon rises, and why not, the contrasting bend of emotion brings a doom-laden ambience and with its hauntingly desolate key touches we have something very portending, very ominous - I am absorbed.

'Song For Myself' rises from the ashes of despair, looks inside and out, sees no reason, sees every reason.  The opposing forces of the mood counterkick against the inner prick, create a hopeless restlessness and throws around a mix of emotions that seem to have no positive end result.  A lift comes, a lull, a final result that leaves us wondering - it is a wonderment of many facets - I think the tonal task is complete.  'Diffrability' is a sharp piece that shouts out for those labelled as misfits, freaks, oddballs, underdogs and strugglers - you know the buggers, the ones warted, worn, not in line and so beautifully out of sync with the flat-line thinking and cranial regimentation so many are afflicted by.   A basic key tickle, straight honest words, uplifting 'whoo hoo's' - what is there not to love here?   An anthem to stroll down the street to, a two-finger salute and ultimate question to those enslaved by societies guidelines as to what is right and wrong.  Thankfully I wipe my arse on their rulebook each and every day and don't give a fuck who any is or what they look like as long as they are something akin to a decent person.  I love this one for many reasons, it goes without saying and if I have to explain the reasons again, then I am sorry…sorry for you!

'Stretford Blue' is a song that slowly reaches out and convinces the listener of being better than what it is whilst growing from a fractured soundcut of vocal debris.  The tones are darkened, the temper rising, the backbone sturdy.  Explosions of oral disgust spill over, the foaming angst is tasted and in truth it feels mighty true and borne of thoughtful hands but...time needs to be given to the tune or else a downturned thumb will be the result.  Relax, rise to the routine, build up your spittle of spite and let it go when you feel totally in the groove - it pays dividends.

Last 2 -  'Good Intentions' is a stop-start rock and roll pseudo spasm that gobs off, stutters and only finds its true feet via a liquid chorus cut.  The staccato delivered statements are too jerky and in many ways state the obvious.  The song adds a certain 'out of tune' splash here and there which may be considered 'mad' and 'anarchic' but which does little to enhance the end result.  I may be in the minority here but I am not bothered about sucking stinking eggs and I am not keen on this one at all - hey, you gotta be fair and honest tha' knows - it has got me nowhere in 54 years, why change now!  'Whistle Down the Wind' offers nothing new which is a shame as a full-on band number would have been a great way to sign off.  Here we get a bout of torture, a refusal, an exposure of an obdurate heart not willing to be palpitated by the force fed shittery.  The combo of back flutters, front preaching, and the final claim all come together to leave a short lasting spell that we should take heed of - as per, how many will, how many can be arsed, how many to will claim they have - such is the idle state of this and every other nation.

There it is, after all these years who would have thought I'd be still listening to the gut-spills of Mr Ignorant and in many ways - enjoying it.  In life, in music, and indeed in punk, there is a lack of anger, effort and encouragement and so one has to cultivate a ray of hope and dig in deep.  A little encouragement here and there helps, an understanding that someone else is pissed off can help one make a greater stride and the odd song used as a booster can work fuckin' wonders.   There are a few on here that will keep me kicking, a few that will reinforce my irritation, I think the whole episode and been worthy of my time - and now to go 'do something' - result!

   

BLITZKRIEG - BLIND FAITH

For fuck sake, this band have been around longer than Ken Barlow and thankfully provide a damned sight more excitement and intrigue.  They have had a rocky ride over the years, ups, downs and roundabout turns but, at the end of the day, this stubborn unit from Southport is still blaring loud and with much impressive gusto.  A recent re-acquaintance in the 'live' pit convinced me that the band still have a lot of fuel in the tank, the question is 'can the same be said after listening to the latest CD'?  I duly received this disc, spun amongst the musical melee that hits my cranial nucleus - eventually I came up with these thoughts.

'Stay Asleep, Obey Or Wake Up' is a resounding message in the first instance, the music backs up the thrust of the tonality and razor-wires across your apathetic throat with much venomous spite.   The dirty opening bass lets you know what to expect, the slap-heavy drums and keen edged guitar insistence are thriving and are soon joined by the gristly and forthright command of the gob, a blistering element that breathes 'fuck you' fire and doesn't mind who gets in the way.  The target for this intense fireball of no-nonsense noise are the doped-up dullards who are being defeated each and every day without ever realising it.  On your toes is the place to be and what better way to take up that stance than with a musical escort such as this.  'What's Your Game' has a groovy rock and roll core slapped up with driving toughness and rigid rhythms that consistently wraparound a spine of sonic goodness.   When stripped to the waist this song is, in all truth, an intrinsically simple construct but when adorned with the heavy duty attire and given a size 12 boot up the arse, it gets moving with purpose.  It is a mere stabiliser for me, continues the assault already started, this is no bad thing but I am expecting track three to really get into the meat of the murderous matter - the clobbering finish here though is very much needed.

'Blind Faith' comes, horror bells toll from feedback and murk.  A rumble, a roll, a rhythm of cutting intent that denounces the human filth.  They create war, bring about untold deaths and perpetuate a foul suffering - it seems to be the entire lot of man.  The anger and energy poured in is tangible, the raw-boned electricity emanated strong and healthy, the inner core is borne from a time when punk spat with a vicious intent and the cabaret was left to those washed up.  The band nail this one, drive it home with consummate energy and make one sit up and take note - fuck your war!  'Conspiracy' features the ex-warbler of Wasted Life who is now the frontman of Discharge.  The song flutters with palpitating energy, cuts a swathe through your senses and batters on your back door of indifference before bursting in and taking your senses hostage.   Straight ahead slamming, swashbuckling releases of nuclear power and a fiery gob flame searing the upper surface make this one an incandescent moment to be struck blind by.   Relentless, all consuming, not a song to be fucked with - lovely and...without a moments respite we are cymbally rushed into the meaty and moving 'Glass Eyed God'.  This one takes the theme of 'Big Brother', warns of the ubiquitous electro-peepers watching and recording your every move and kicks back with a feeling of disgruntlement and general unease.  The band, through the verse bites, keep things on a leash and foaming and only when the chorus comes do they ease up on the chain and snap with more venom - I find myself convinced thus far.

'These Four Walls' is a tale of claustrophobic intensity played out within a grinding enclosure of high pressure frustration and a need to break free.  The band apply themselves with great focus, create a watertight scenario that chainsaws with zoned in focus and sticks to a very strict path of rhythm whilst flexing muscles and resisting the incessant push of the imprisoning boundaries.  'Divide And Conquer' is the chasing track, a far more impressive song due to nothing more than a consistent driving power that never lets up throughout the entire running time and leaves one 'fucked' by the end of the listening experience.  The incessant approach, the blister-inducing thermality, the exposure of the controlling cunts who like to see those below given an overspill of misinformation so as to keep them bickering and distracted, all combine to make this bleeding punk built on the fundamentals so many have overlooked, diluted and took the piss out of.  This is a soul-sizzling spit out and followed by the equally upsetting 'Inner City Deprivation', another song that takes no prisoners, sweats its bollocks off from first to the last, leaves no room to breathe and absolutely gets the production room finish spot on.  This is a gravelly kick up that relishes the task at hand and creates good tonal turmoil loaded with beefy riffs, belted skins and blood-dripping gobwork - massive.

'Bankers Of Hate' wastes no time in preparation, pummels with undying persistence, twists the blade into the guts of the eavesdropping victim whilst bombarding with gusto and throwing numerous big-handed grenades of bad blood to hopefully take one's head clean off.  I do find this one disappears into the pack and doesn't make the biggest impression although it has a hardiness and no doubt a durability not to be questioned.  'Got A Gun' is a fave of mine, a veritable implacable and inflexible beast of sound galloping forward on muscular legs weighted with a design to kick ones bollocks to utter hell...and back.  The inner turmoil, the taut coiled tension, the need for the release are all caught, mushed together and shit out through a very resistant and yet at the same time relaxed orifice of threat.  I find this song is a latter end cruncher and surely crushes any resistance I may pathetically offer.

The last two storm down the final furlong and break the tape at the end with much fuel still left in the tank.  'War Breeds War' has a nifty rhythm in the anti-conflict cacophony, progresses through the first impacting verse before simply stating the chorus in a no-nonsense fashion that indeed works.  In some ways this is basic punk, in others it is all-consuming, drenched through discordance that hits a studded and spiked nerve and leaves one invigorated.  Strip away the layers and what is exposed is a machine built of hard-working components, well-drilled, well-oiled and not afraid to have a tear up.  'Change It' segues in with conspicuous and shameless hammer-wielding madness.  The blazing exhausts are given one last blow-out with tympanics clattering, bass bombarding, guitar abrasively lacerating and all the while the fucked and thriving larynx is put through its paces and ultimately bled dry as the oral offerer sweats his guts out.  A fine way to finish, a real apposite question placed at your potentially idling feet - yes indeed, what are you gonna do about it?

Blitzkrieg have thrown in their all but have they dished out their best offering to date?  I think it might just be the case.  All I need do now is get these viewed in an up close and personal gaff again and enjoy this power-soaked display and get a few others to do the same.  Well done chaps, a fuckin' fine piece of work - just what the punk rock Doc prescribed!

   

UP THE ANTI - AUDIO AMMUNITION

There is nowt wrong with good honest-to-good punkiness played with a certain freshness but all the while soaked through with inspirations from the late 70's.  One thing the scene can be proud of is that it has many strains, some noticeably honest, some bang on the mark, some obviously dubious as bands try to cover all areas and fail.  Up The Anti are a new band to me which is always something I like - new and moving rather that old and stagnant. I have spun this 5 tracker many times, I have weighed up using the scales of the critical and fair, the end review balances out as thus.

'Van Diemens Land' begins with stated bass, flourishes into a nice splash and stream moment, moves with the utmost sanguinity before relating a tale of crime and punishment and the threat of being banished to distant shores now known as Tasmania.  The holistic feel of the song is genuinely uplifting and has a mix that gives each and every component room to breathe, express and be examined.  I duly delve, I take each contributing factor and come away without anything to find fault with - I am mighty impressed and the vocal style is absolutely bang on the button as regards strength, character and most importantly of all, clarity.  'Guilty' is a real confident construction that proudly pronounces itself on weighty strums before cruising through the first verse, a verse that gets to the nub of the matter and nails its words to the holier than thou walls.  Paedo's and psycho's are labelled and put on the row of death which, in truth, is no bad thing at all.  The song generates its own zest, bounces with a joy do vivre that is quite infectious and all the while remains clean-cut and very strong.   The band have obviously taken time getting the equilibrium of all elements just right, it really does make a difference and indicates a crew well-oiled and functioning at a very efficient level.  Cracking stuff I'd say!

'Freedom' tightly glistens, once more makes a stated entrance, scurfs up and goes for it.  The sprint via the first chorus is done over a fine bass substrate and whooshed along with nippy drum work and a further urgent guitar.   The vocals stay up with the pace, never lose their clarity and contribute to a good raucous punkery that stays clean, agile and impressive throughout.  There is a certain style and substance being played out here by a band very much in control both when plying their trade and in the production room - excellent.

'Stranglehold' is a massive mover, laden with sing-a-long defiance that is easily swallowed, swirled, spat back out with spite and utterly believed in.  Refuse to take their orders is indeed the message given, live life your own way (provided you cause no harm of course), jump up and salute another rip-roaring effort that moves through various gears, alters tonality without breaking sweat and slams this one home with consummate ease - I struggle to find fault, it makes a change.

The closures is entitled 'TV Overkill', one for the brain-dead tube addicts and a raucous wake-up call to get the arses shifted and stop wasting precious time.  The band are whipped up for the task at hand, plough away with focused industry and energy whilst going at matters with hammer and tongs blazing.  The stick work insists impetus is high, the players are kept on their toes right up until the last and we, the listener are bloody well entertained.

That is that, I stride on happy in the knowledge there are many bands out there making some solid music and doing it with style - here is another one, and even though I am 54 years of age at the time of writing, sozzled with sonic overspills, I reckon I can still recognise and enjoy a good tune when I hear one!

   

RUMOURS OF WAR - SLOGANEERING

A Scottish band with a problem, the problem being an urgency to create a noise and get one thinking.  In this day and age to get anyone's noggin ticking is a real troublesome task but here the crew have a go, play out matters in their own style and make sure things are not overly done and kept real with a very obvious DIY minimalism.  The frontman has a definite singing style I have encountered several times before, here I go again, dissecting, deciding, doing my thing in the usual way.

'Declaration Of War' is a shifty shit tiptoeing over the recording surface of silence and leaving behind a very light tread of tonality that, if examined in an up close and personal manner, reveals careful lyrical content and a certain situation where the composer has taken an abundance of time to get the atmosphere and message exactly right.   The outcome is a throwback song that stays within a certain straitjacket of sound and wallows in one semi-subdued state that has to be listened to when in a certain, almost studious, mood.   This isn't 'get up and dance' music but rather more political finger-pointing that further exposes a situation and throws due shit.  Thinking man's fodder methinks and nicely arranged at that - the only request - more gumption in the mixing room please.

Next and 'Clean',  a sedate and tentatively looming song springs to lo-fi life with great consideration verbally played out and all with a detestation for the great scheme of things where contradictions, imbalances and unfairness rule the roost and makes for a society tilted all the wrong way.  The main style of the song is the fact that it is in no rush to get things dished out, is determined to relay its full message in its own poetical style with the verbals taking precedence over the tuneage.  In this day and age of the idle-headed and cranially inept this could be a severe drawback but I feel we need sounds with substance and designed to make one...think.

A bouncing bass, a string flicker, a skip in the skins, 'Sloganeering' comes and points a very straight finger at the many slotting into place, singing about the right things in the right way but making sure they sit within the parameters of the middle ground and do fuck all.  Quick to encourage, slow to act - sound familiar!  The spartan soundscape, the disillusioned wordery, the wondering where it has all gone so fuckin' wrong spills with sharp passion and although the chorus doesn't rise as much as I like, I reckon in the 'live' arena this one will be a real treat.

The finale of the four is 'Half Mast', we start with a sound-bite that gently peers into the awaiting space of silence before stepping forth and placing one tonal foot in front of the other. Again we are soon donated a downpour of direct and uncompromising detail that uncovers the false grief, the commanding con and the sheer atrocity and waste of war that can never be encapsulated within the confines of one song.  The impetus of this effort rises as we progress, the initial impression is of a sombre shading across the palette of the punk canvas, with time the hues become sharper and more intense, with thought the final picture can be viewed with greater clarity with all areas nicely positioned.

A 4 track CD that takes some adjusting to simply because that songs aren't of a 'crash, bang and wallop' mode and it is designed to get the juices of the noggin flowing.  For me it is of good stock but, if it is to be part of an album then several shorter songs need throwing in the mix and next time emphasis needs placing on moments of contrasting sounds and some heavy riffage - it will be interesting to see how things progress.

   
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