FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
 
 

THE SEE NO EVILS - OUT OF THE SHADOWS

The See No Evils are a band I hold in high regard, a jingle-jangle retro-vibrating crew who bring to the fore a rich tapestry of technicolor sound that surfs in on well-gusted guitar licks and well-slapped membranes.  The vocal style is exacting, fits in with the style to a perfect tee, is offered forth on well-flown thermals and completes a 4-part machine really moving through many effective gears. 

'Hold On' is a vibrant mover with untold excellence and a certain classy lilt paying homage to what was and holding up the relevance of what is.  The mix is superb, exposes players very much in an accomplished groove and all in tune with a most gratifying sound.  The vocal style rises up here and is one of the best on the block, breathing life whilst all the while avoiding cornball mimicry and orthodox methodology.  This one is simply an outstanding start and chased down by the follow-up track known as 'You Got The Flame'.  The edge here is darker, the cut perhaps a trifle deeper albeit done with a slower and more deliberate stroke.  The tub thumps see the blade turned and kissed by the light, the first lunge is tentative but well aimed, we are soon a willing victim.  The texturisation is appealing, the blend of components once more exact and the flow undeniable.  The upshot is another song right in the groove, awash with solid melody and continuing the march into a CD promising so much.

'Blue Skies' are sun-blessed and open up a vista of melancholic meandering done with care, consideration and well-crafted minimalism that shows a band squeezing the very best out of themselves without even trying (clever bastards).  The song is just a lovely drift of questioning agony with our suffering man at the helm beautifully accompanied by the considerably bare, but utterly effective, stringwork.  It is a lovely combo, need I add more, I thought not!  'All That I Know' scurries over the cymbals, glistens with wired up gentleness, finds a groove and rises with sanguine richness borne form a unit fluttering high on magnificent wings and very much at home in their own chosen airspace.  The development of the rippling guitar is sublime, incessant, backed by a weaving bass and a regular tympanic department that keeps all areas flourishing and natural.   The reactive forces within the wind blow hard and blow soft whenever the need arises, it is all marvellous to witness.

Into the mush of the melody we go, 'She's My Kind Of Girl' hot foots it on sneaky creepers with the usual tones offered with a stated vocal backed by a title shadow and all reinforced by those forever glinting vibrations.   This one is a real simple construction, it matters not, the simplicity creates the charm, allows the eavesdropper to ease on in and swirl to the joy de vivre, the celebration of sweet love, the rich elevations of shimmer-tastic sincerity that contribute to another major mover on a CD that is getting better by the spin.  From the midst of high flying wonder we get thrown a slight curveball with the softly abraded surge known as 'You'.  This sub-scurfed swinger is a garaged slice of magnetising magnitude that appeals to my general SNE leanings as well as those more earthy areas that I love to dip my attentive toes in.  The lo-fi DIY approach here is a subtle realignment of the route taken thus far but still shines brightly and is very much in keeping with the brilliance I am aurally bathing in.  The general tremulations and feel-good uplifts are taken and adored - I move on...invigorated.

Stop, start, crisply, crisply does it!  'Feed Your Mind' rolls along without flaw, the vocals rise high about the substrate of sound where the usual scrumptious tones are borne.  Psychedelic persuasions are radiated with repeat-beat incessancy, the wire work is as fascinating as ever, at times it rises above the honest strum into moments glowing and somewhat frazzling.   When taken as a whole, dissected and thoroughly investigated the song is uncomplicated and wrapped around a very upright sonic spinal cord, it is how the band execute matters that makes the difference - I have no gripes thus far!  'Close The Door' is a smooth song, drifted over plains well-sanded and with the usual micaceous granules catching the light and giving the necessary glistening effect.  The quality is far from lacking, the clouded vocals move with lofted leisure over the reflective rhythms with a certain sure-footed solidity making all areas airborne on emotive thermals not to be under-rated.  A fluffy number this, a cappuccino moment whisked to a palette-pleasing level with a heat level none too harsh - I sip, smile, and move on.

The last trio of expected tonal goodness brings 'The Love Has Gone Away' for starters, a song that follows the usual route, is full of fruity goodness and high buoyancy despite the break-up of a love match that is dealt with in quite matter-of-fact terms.   There are no blips here, no reasons to gush further!  'Bleed' slightly ascends, takes on a hallowed aspect, floats over a liquid light-catching surface before getting to grips with the task at hand and dealing out a song that is tattooed through with haunting vagaries that bring something new to the creative table.  The inner considering drapes are billowed inwards and reveal insightful windows that look out onto a vista yet to be truly trodden - one can feel the band on the cusp though, the precipice of a whole new adventure - I am rather engrossed by this sub-oddment that takes a slightly different pathway - a penultimate pleasure no less.   We close this more than satisfying CD with 'Falling'.  The initial offerings reek to buggery of things Joy'ed and 'Division'ed - a certain darkness pervades but is counterbalanced by the bands usual uplifting breeziness that blows away any despondency suggested.   The blend here is salted with nostalgic condiments and spirals upwards and downwards with gratifying ease.   The vocal style is gentler, the air currents running through the song are as fresh as ever but are somehow given a certain characteristic depth and the magnetising guitar sequence is as pleasing as ever - I sign off...delighted.

The CD then, as a whole, is tossed one more time around the mixing bowl of consideration.  I add a bit of critical oil, I taste, ponder and spit out a final verdict, yes baby, this is a cracker.  A consistently sound CD from first to last with all the trinkets of tonality exhibited from a band very much in the retro groove but bringing it to the modern day.  I am still impressed by this unit, long may it continue.

   

JAMES BAR BOWEN - THE LIE OF THE LAND

Many moons ago the gent that is James Bar Bowen got his instruments together and graciously played a few Fungalised shows, he also interviewed me twice on a local radio station and shared a bottle of wine with me whilst 'live' on air.  I was impressed by the gent’s style and sonic spirit, a talent that is honest, striving and with a caring slant that creates music with forethought and an attempt to provoke a cerebral response.  After all these years I am still peddling the DIY cause, James is still plucking away and now I have been requested to do a CD review which of course I will tackle in my usual way.  I think a gig offer is due, it may be worth my while hearing these songs played 'in the flesh' - then again, let us see how things go on CD first.

'The Butcher's Apron' has an inner seething annoyance within a folk-ish weft of texturised tickling that initially suggests a spaghetti-fied western before becoming a Euro/Gaelic hybridisation that shouts out for the fallen, the strugglers, the one's with the shit end of the stick.  Bowen plays the tune with much industry, brings into play an orchestration of cared for attention, an arrangement built on years of plucking passion.  I consider over and over, am rather taken by a political shanty that deals with the dogs that do, the one's that really make a difference.  'The Irony Monger' is a complex piece that combines thoughtfulness, ambiguity, brass assisted hope and a chorus that is steeped in defeated melancholy that is a stark contrast to the flow initially expected.  This is a strange effort, one minute I am skipping, one minute I am doubted and then when taken as a whole I see the light and come to consider this as one that will grow upon the listener and eventually win favour - I am slowly getting there!

'A Pyrrhic Victory' is a gentle incision into current day disasters where blood is let and sufferance comes and all the while we are left wondering what the fuck is going on.  Many claim to have won, many have contributed to a downward spiral, it is all one mess.  The flow here is sedate, it is a tranquil yet troubled moment that the artiste does well to keep under the cosh.  As part of the CD this one is middling, when taken out and placed on its own tonal feet in the midst of raging acoustica it shines mighty bright.  'Break My Fall' is a more robust and upbeat song, a ditty of defiance, a call to all stragglers who feel as though things are looming large and bearing down upon their inner spirit.  The plucker plays things with great heartiness, much enthusing gusto whilst all the while not allowing the song to flat-line and rely upon one central theme of sound.   The words come on foaming wavelets of thought-out honesty and I am buoyed along and thinking this is the pick of the pops so far - any arguments then please re-listen and have a word with yourself.

'Everything Changes' is a sub-dirge that thrives with a melancholia kissed strain that gets a little too countrified for my liking and leaves me with visions of dewy eyed, corn chomping goons sipping sweet 'shine' and looking forward to the weekends barn dance as they pluck an ear of wheat from out of the crack of their arse.  The lilt and tilt towards all things pondering and ultimately bleak is tidily played out but as the soporific tones overwhelm my senses I find myself eager to get to the final strum.  'Multitudes' is a regulated mover with a steady beat and a rather stated verse arrangement that states its factual case and just gets on with matters.  A question is thrown, the situation we are in is up for debate, the behaviour of the mad masses is exposed - what on earth do we do?  The puzzlement with things gone awry is tidily delivered in one inoffensive package adorned with some brassage and tick-tock sticks.  I am rather taken with this honest confession of hope abandoned, I can easily relate to the despair - it comes from thinking folks, it can be a silly thing to do.

'Little White Lies' sways upon a soft undercurrent of uplifting movement, a movement all holding intrigue and still swishing with a myriad of unanswered posers.  The stance taken is once again of a minstrel mystified, borne via emerald loins, moving with a misted style that still retains a pellucid accent of tone thus making for a situation slightly hazed.  Again, we have a concoction that is politically frustrated, a frustration that indicates that the 'X' in a box is a silent scream, a holler for help that is usually ignored.  The more I listen to this one the more a fall in line and nod along to the true-ringing emissions - tis a very valid inclusion.  'De Vloek' is a rowing song, a ditty that sits in its own rhythm and with regular encouragement asks us to keep the pace, keep the focus, and work mighty hard to gain that much sought after commodity known as 'liberation'.  There are no hidden depths here, no complex intricacies or flicks of the wrist, it is just one sub-shantified sing-a-long ideal for the end of the night when the suppers and supposers are a trifle bleary and need a refreshing burst of hope - I must get this man booked again and have a jig.

'Standing' is a serious serenade that is one for the loner, the pisser in the wind, the veritable underdog no less.  The strings are kept on a leash, the song comes from a vista of emptiness with only the natural elements for company.  In life we get weather beaten, we get blown all ways and saturated with incessant shittery, we must stand firm, wear our lacerations and wounds with deep pride and still remain rooted to our beliefs and make sure the bastards know it.  I like this one, it calls to the inner defiance, it resonates with the soul that refuses to accept - yes, don't let em' have ya folks.

We end with a growing hybrid of many influences with the initial suggestions of a 'Deliverance' copulating with something 'Leone-esque'.  This opening ambiguity soon deliquesces and turns to a liquid state of sonic ease with obvious Euro aspects.  'Bella Ciao' is an Italian folk song, an anti-fascist song used by the partisans against the brainwashed scum known as the 'Nazis'.  Our man at the helm, a thinker, a decent headed gent and one trying to get others pondering, does the song justice, keeps the lilt easy and flowing and gets so carried away as to drop into foreign dialects.  I always appreciate it when a songster can stay level-headed when dealing with such an important subject, it is the way to get the best response methinks - a big up once more and perhaps the most pertinent note on which to finish.

Look, Mr Bowen does what he does, it is a very clear cut path that he walks down whilst making many a tune to get you thinking.  The music is fluent, creeps, entwines and convinces, it is worthy of anyone's time.  This CD has been dwelt on for a goodly while, sometimes things take longer than first deemed, as per I give 100% and try and reflect what is going on whilst giving a fair judgement - I hope I have done the task required - now go indulge and for goodness sake 'think'.

   

EYE THE BOMB - HOT BOX

More scratch, wank and sniff from the hip-hop punk bastards that I find utterly appealing.  Eye The Bomb are moving forth and still producing the goods and here we have a full length offering to salivate over.  I am not here to gush though and offer favours to loyal 'erberts who have stayed true and have played many a Fungalised stage.  The goodness will be certainly praised, the badness exposed for what it is, the middling given a fair kicking along the way but, it will all be done in the best possible taste (I hope).

A sharp skid back and forth on the drastic plastic and we are thrown headlong into the opening beauty I just can't get enough off.  'Acting Right' is perfectly mixed, is awash with ad hoc moments where the band seemingly play by instinct.  The whole blend exudes a contrasting power and undying street-cool insight that really gets under the skin and gets one rockin'.   The final crescendos of 'pow' and 'wow' are orgasmic and if you started pinging from the off, by the finale you will be utterly jumping to Heaven upon high.  This corruption of many forces is reborn with all components getting things bang on the mark and blowing the standard to complete fuckery.  'Spit' pronounces, considers, sets a scene and then...moves with grooves of street sass sinisterism with the pace set to 'kerb crawling', the attitude switched to level 'sanguine'.  This one, unlike the first, takes a little adjusting to, especially for my punked up nature, but time is always given to these melodic offerings and after due consideration, the artistes are given a warm nod of agreement.  For me, the band are setting a heady standard for the ilk they are dealing with and bringing much spiked spirit to a scene sometimes cocky without forethought.  The bass twists here, throws many feints whilst the guitar adorns, the discs unsettle, the gob enchants with lyrical wefts of layered intrigue - yes, with each spin this one gets better and better.

'Cannarchy In The UK' is a smart song, attired in fuming garbs and steaming with political activity as the word of the weed is spouted and touted, the herbal haze is dispersed.  The verbals are enthused, stylish and swinging with the musical escort undulating with a great sense of melodic know-how and eclecticism that pervades all areas and makes for one gratifying upchuck of wise and questioning noise.  Inner whispers accentuate matters, the general gist is spiced with a relished delivery, it makes even the outsider convinced.  'Living On A Lie' next, a song that combines every fascinating element of a band alive with electric fire, surging with that wonderful punk fuck hip-hop madness destined to fracture peoples thinking and to piss from a great height on their idiot expectations.  From the firmly stated, the fat bassed grooviness and the quality saturated mix to the smooth manoeuvres that take us into a delectable chorus of easy swing that is just the perfect partner to the heavy rappoid bombardment.  Throughout the escapade the band exude class, attitude and a certain dapper delightfulness that is always going to serve them well.

'Vegan' stays ambiguous, swings one way, upchucks the other way, treads on toes and struts with a sure-fire arrogance.  It is a sharp-barbed song that I like, it plays to no one’s tune, it swaggers, remains lucid and throws things headlong further into a quality laden collection.  The song has style, is tuned in to the vibe on the street, keeps things sweetly on the cusp.  'Beats' counts its way inward, jives and follows the most obvious routes thus far.  A sweet haze is billowed amidst the more regulated moves with activity kept lofted and the players all chucking in their 'two-penneth' worth whilst becoming more deeply involved with the musical love affair.  For me the band just overcomplicate this one and from one we could get three more appealing offerings all with an easy pick up and play appeal.  If one cares to take one's precious time things will develop into a scenario of success with the full-development of the creation being better understood and enjoyed.  We have a very rich talent here, a talent bursting at the seams and with so much to expose, it is no bad place to be in.  Yeah, take your time folks, enjoy the journey to gratification and consider this a lengthy wank rather than a two-bit toss off!

Into the final stretch. 'Let's Stop This' is a raucous affair using punky urgency and a swift lyrical delivery.  The bass is the initial catalyst, it has a lively enthusiasm the rest of the players can't help but jump in line with.   This rapid burst is perfectly timed, the CD was crying out for such a moment and it comes, does what it has to do with great accomplished clarity and prowess.  This is the time to ping and pogo and throw caution to the wind, great delight should be taken as one jumps into the slipstream and skids in the sonic shittery left behind - I love it!  'Tell Em' All' bounds in on bold tones, mouths off with assuredness, drifts into a sublime sub-chorus that contrasts, activates further interests and keeps the listener utterly intrigued right up until the last.  The band are rolling on a high wave, this is another quality snippet, I am rating this CD very highly indeed.

We come to the last, the digital format I have received shows me that I have a 9 minute 8 second episode to deal with, tagged under the name of 'Make Me Shout'.  The band take us on a lengthy journey, showcasing what they do in all its colour forms and varied sonic shapes.  The twists and turns come with unpredictable ease, crisp guitars accentuate, firm skin slaps enliven, the scratching bastard induces a spasmed response, the bass relentlessly snake-charms - the mix is delectable.   Vocally activated throughout, this is an awkward energy burst - stick with it folks.   A pause, a moment of preparation, 'You're My Drug' is a gushing homage, an explosion of sensations released through a multifarious musical ejaculation fired from a cock-throb of moving machinery with all circuitry and components thriving and sparking with notable vivacity.  This is classy cacophony people, overlook at your peril.  I am utterly taken, the band finish on a very inspiring note here, clash and collide, keep it pure, natural and ridiculously snazzy - kaboom.

I have completed 75 CD reviews this year, this is in the top 5 and will be in the mix for the Album of the Year nod, it is that good.  I am a long term punker and like what I like, this shouldn't be my cup of chinging cha' - the fact that it is says so much.   The crew have played many a Fungal do, they have never left me deflated, here they have upped the ante, the next viewing promises to be something special - oh yes, thank fuck I am not restricted by in-scene rules and regulations!

   

JANUS STARK - ANGEL IN THE FLAMES

This lot have been around for a quite a while, play a brand of 90's punkism that in many ways was commercialised and rather cleansed but we need all these flavours and each one must be thrown into the melting pot to keep folk intrigued and...wondering.  The band throw in many sub-generic flavours, some obvious, some not so blatant, I don my crash-helmet of critique and dive headlong into the noise - as per, it will be as straight as you want it and not shying away from the feelings aroused by the music!

We open with the quite pertinent 'Crucify All The Leaders', a sonically tidy song with the atypical approach of the band that remains liquid, hygienic and of a certain era when the US invaded all areas with a poppoid element many went 'ape-shit' over.  The incessant approach is laden with concentrated musical goodness, oozes a sound that will appeal very much to the younger generation and those perhaps a bit older but not quite over the hill.  The vocals remain clear throughout, deliver a message that those all ready to react should use as motivation.  A few sonic shifts to keep the pernicketiest peeps thinking are thrown in, we have a decent start but nothing outrageously effective and without any offensive blips.  'Commodity Awakening' opens with dark, deliberate tones, cuts a swathe before cooling matters down and posting forth a somewhat awkward verse followed by a routine I am a trifle bored by.  I don't know what it is but the tones lack a vibrancy, the suggestion that I have heard it all before is way too strong and the tendrils of the song never truly take hold of my sonic soul.  All areas are played with long-termed knowledge, the efficiency of the song is not to be doubted and the multi-faceted style is under no question - and yet, I just don't like this one and it fails to make its mark within my receptive layers.

'Last Exit To Change Your Mind' bounces in with great gumption, has a Pistolian lick before soon dumbing things down and taking the edge off the promise with a quite clean and commercialised arrangement that will be far more appealing to the late 90's punkers who liked things more melodic and, may it be said, more polished.  Of course, this isn't my usual sonic beverage and I need to take time when listening in.  I find no blips, I uncover another song of accomplished musicianship and with a fair bit of gumption in the engine.  The song moves with well-greased precision and despite not being in the groove I can perhaps tip this one as the best so far.   

Fuzz, stop, fuzz, stop, start!  'Murderer's Rights Society' poses a question, does so with brisk guitars, clean harmonies, rolling drums and an accent that undulates and pulses with worthy vigour.   I find myself pondering something akin to Bad Religion, something from the niche of punk where bands formed a sub-circle of sound that many could latch onto and appreciate.  The raw-assed raucousness was abandoned, bands thought more about structure - here we have all those elements and although a lover of earthy DIY disasters, I can still nod along to this and appreciate.  Low flickerings next punctuate with quick strikes that have one wondering what will follow.  'Dead, Dead' is well-crafted, cooled and of a light foamy structure I can only sip at now and again rather than gulp down like some guzzling new-school gits I know.  The opening verse is buffed up and spartan, comes from areas rinsed and well-bleached with a warning to all those seeking scurfy crusts and warts - 'look elsewhere'.  The song rises to a chorus that is clinical and without flaw, this will go down a treat with those looking for lengthy players with an easy to grip gist - I can take it or leave it but tip my titfer in acknowledgement of a job well done.

A fistful of four follows, I spring through the review to avoid ennui setting in on both sides.  'Karmageddon' is a mid-paced number that does little to elevate my interest and confirms why I have never really been a fan of this band and this style of music.  To my palette we have an efficient number that, due to its intricacy and high production values, leaves me entirely cold - it is just one of those moments I am afraid.  'It Can Be Tough Up There' is a zipping number and all the better for the pace injected.  Moments switch off and offer contrasting salvation, the overall brew is swirled with generous consideration with all players knowing their role.   I get into a decent groove here although the odd metallic burst does make me cringe.  'Some Stars Never Fade' slowly progresses, is weak water to my tastebuds who require a headier brew.  The palette is caressed with watercolour effects, a wishy washy pastel parade of sauntering application that is doing little to rouse any gushing praise from this out-of-sync reviewer - this is the lowest point of all for yours truly!  'In The Backs' picks up a routine formula, spruces it up, and moves with the usual well-bleached and scrubbed up methodology with the band faultless in their ability and making sure the consistency levels are maintained.  This one is an effort that slightly entwines around the reactors of recognition and has a certain snag that is easy to pick on - not bad at all.

The last 3, 'Shuffling The Pack' grinds out a decent groover although the slip into areas metallic does get on my rather critical tits.  The hook is confident and nags away til one submits and eventually one is enslaved to the repeat beat of the songs title.   The ocean of sound beneath the vocals has great weight and is, as per, done in the usual JS way.  If at this point you are enthused you may find a strong mover here to guide you to the finish line with great gusto.  'Those Who Realise' slaps in with urgency, keeps things initially simple, flows through the chorus, provides an unending push of animation and offers a pause for thought as regards those enslaved and stuck in a rut.  Tis a fair song and as this CD has progressed and I have taken more time, I feel a little more in tune with matters - but don't get carried away folks.  We close with the nervous energy of 'A Traitor's Call' a pace ridden escapade of high exactitude with incessant fluidity and the usual blend of streaming sonic relish that undoubtedly indicates a band loving every minute of what they do and playing out their roles with unquestionable talent.  This swift spring to the final tape isn't half bad, is a clinical job done and perhaps elevates a CD I have struggled with to a more approachable place.

Well, I have had a go, I have come out not liking this one but have strove with earnest to remain fair, objective and true to what I do.  Many will absolutely love this (they are called the 'converted'), some will be in a place of middling judgement, some will loathe it.  I will not be joining the fan base anytime soon, as said, I am out of sync with what is transpiring but that is how the assessing cookie sometimes crumbles and I have no reason to apologise for it, but I will - sorry chaps.

   

DAS CLAMPS - SHIT MUSIC FOR SHIT PEOPLE

Another band form Darn Sarf on the Dirty Water label and one souped up on adrenalin, high purpose and scuzz-trash sonics.  The first listen hints at that indicative sound emanating from the label stable with its hollowed-out cavernous echoes, loose-wristed carefree snottiness and old-school, unwashed shittery.  Over the years I have spent a lot of time listening to this glorious garbage and I am hoping it continues for a long while yet.  All of it may not be my cup of tea or up to my personal level of 'sonica' but this doesn't stop me recognising a fuckin' good effort when I see one.

We open here with the lasses from tonal Hell playing a safe hand and loop-a-looping around a strict scaffold of sound that is from the bitch cave of annoyance and primitive discordance where everything remains unkempt and soiled.  'I'm Clamped' has essences of something B52'd with a much grubbier feel that leaves one easily provoked.  No ground-breaking grind-out is uncovered here but what is exposed is a very honest and raw-assed burst of tribal tonality - I venture forth intrigued.  'New Kind Of Fix' is a reality-kissed upchuck of jangled stringwork and deliberate dustbin lid thumping.  The song marches forward with a stern brow, stamps each sonic foot into the dusty substrate with utter conviction and refuses to be stopped on its way to damnation alley.  The huntress is exposed, we listeners are the prey, the uncomplicated somewhat hypnotic arrangement weaves its magic, albeit in a simple and uncomplicated manner - tis one for the connoisseurs of such din-damaging delights.

'Goo Goo Muck' opens with a pseudo-tease lilt, twists and turns on a central pole of slinky cat cacophony and continues on its way with a slow swing in its persuasive haunches.  The progressive drive is done as though through a cloying gloop, it keeps one hanging in suspense, has one waiting for a surge that...never comes.  We are left salivating, in a twilight of dubious dabbling with our trousers down, I don't know whether or not I should be thankful of genuinely enraged.  'Bad Taste' is a little too obvious for its own good and despite ticking all the boxes on the generic form it fails to leave any scrawls or acoustically inky blemishes that give the aftertaste individuality.  This is a low point for me, I find that things are kept within certain boundaries and the pluckers are in danger of limiting their options.  The vibe isn't half bad though, maybe I am being a trifle harsh - bah!

Sweet blues arise from the debris of din-making rebellion with a hook captured, used to the extreme and brandished as a winning aspect of the composite known as 'Primitive'.  I like this shoddy shitter and the way it drips from the speakers into the cranial pools where juices slosh and swirl and broil over with acceptable enthusiasm.  A very underhand number this, like a mongrel beneath the table, rubbing up against one's leg with a hint of the lipstick on show - nasty man, nasty!  'You Got Good Shit' twangs, hoofs, 'oomph's' and then goes through the mire of an intrinsically basic melody with matters enhanced by she-whooshes and Cro-Magnon cacophony created with a very noticeable glint in the eye.  This is an ideal song for 'in the pit' parading where I think it will bring the best from a probable bunch of salivating grunters and grinders - ooh heck.

'Qhahog Stomp' is a favourite of mine, a plucky little fruit falling from a tree of twang-ology and cracking my bonse right open and exposing the inner responsive neurones.  A basic stutter strut, an obvious verbal arrangement, a relentless clanking carriage of sound, things at this point, are really that simple.  'People Ain't No Good' La'la's, grinds serious gears, slams those bin lids, disorientates the eavesdropping senses and abrasively squirms over the recording substrate and leaves something of a shoddy mess.  This is all well and good in the main but at this juncture these clattering upchucks are now merging into the general sonic splodge and I am finding very little here to suggest that the game has been upped and anything, to magnetise this listener at least, into committing to a verdict of 'decent'.  I don't like this limping whelp, it humps with arthritic difficulty and the end orgasm is a mere weeping rather than a resounding splash - I avoid any sort of musical pregnancy. 

'Human Clam' ascends, declines, swirls, drills deep and refuses to inject any pace whatsoever.  The sound, the essence, the harsh tonality all have me switching off and saying that enough is enough with a CD that started well, promised and during the last 2 numbers ran out of ideas and general options.  Tis a shame but these things happen, as per and like I always say, no reviewer can like everything and one has to be open and honest at all times.  Here I have been, I regard myself as 50% taken, 50% unsure, 100% trying - like it, shove it up your arse or…well you decide.

   

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.

 
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