FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
TRIPWIRE DC - DARK ALLEY
A band here I first saw at The Star and Garter in Manchester and who provided 40 minutes of absorbing interest with their punked and reggaefied rhythms that clashed, collided but, most importantly, cruised with quality. The band won my favour via a 'live' review, as a result I find myself with an album on my hands to do my usual business with! My pleasure as always. The crew hail from Scotland, have an intolerance of Nazis, bullies, prejudice in general and will not be restricted by genre - this sounds fuckin' fabulous. I have done my listening duties and am now ready to clatter the keys with my throbbed and nobbed Digitus secundus manus, a limitation that causes untold problems - such is the life of an arthritic assessor.
Track one, I taste and ponder and let 'Jesus Buddha Mohammed', trickle down my sonic swilling gullet in fascinating, comforting and rewarding style. The delicacy, the soft application of he and her vocals, the Jah man accessories and the movement from placid waters through to motions with apparent strength all induce the listener into a dreamy float that is not to be questioned. The band have aimed high at such an early point and have reached their goal with sincerer talent, insightful know-how. They have a crafted cultivation that is not hurried or over-saturated and the gradual precious peaks and necessary troughs all combine to make a soft oceanic happening to absorb. 'Hey Mr Reggae' has a more calyspotic flavour with the solarised string shimmers upbeating the output and bringing to the fore many essences well wafted in the certain sub-genre. The crisp wire strokes are splendid, the street-wise oral roamings resplendent in accented drapes and the splish-splash tympanics add a further element of animation that aids the overall groove. The undulations are light but noticeable and this escorting follow-up to the gratifying opener is another notch up on the ladder of success.
Next and a change of tack, a more orthodox tune as far as those punk boundaries go. 'Isolation' has more to offer though and the clear vocals are wonderfully shadowed by whispered she-susurrations that breathe extra life into the free-flowing track that I just lap up with each rotation. The wires skank, crisply ascend whilst the sticks tap with controlled regulation and bring something orderly to the tuneful table. The persuasive head rushes, the need to flee from the fascist fuckery and the last push that repeat beats is all nutrition for my noisy nob - it stiffens with delight (ooh heck here I go again). 'Reggae For The Rich Boys' is another scrumptious scoop of creamy cacophony that states its case, snipes with suggestive solidity and erodes any sense of resistance one may have with nothing more than subtlety, exacting tonal blends and languorous lilts that get buoyed along on a surface skin of serenity. Marvellous and a quartet to quiver at the knees with - in the most pleasing way!
Plucked from the verdant bush of sonic fruition comes the most clamorous and clashing marvel yet, namely 'Strawberry Boy'. This kicking song lashes out with regularity and exposes a new facet of the Tripwire crew who can play it cool, wander with a mean drift or hot-foot it with a bit more forthright vulgarity. If one was to dissect this one then there aren't too many layers and it is the most basic piece thus far but the cough up encouragements, precise production and alive and colourful affects make it work. 'I Don't Want To Be Like You' is a rich song with distinct qualities of something 'Lydon-i-fied', and is a real sub-PIL'led up number that moves with a melodic passion and easy magnetising swing that emphasises the entire quality of a band with many strings to their well-twanged bow. This song is a charming sliver of sound that rants, raves, indicates self belief and has a liquidity that will not be shied away from but totally embraced and...involved with - a choice cutlet.
Further on we go and a quick assessing trio beckons. The choppy starlight shine of 'Stand Up' is utterly delicious and is crisply delivered and ideally ruffled with all components superbly complimentary and contributing to an uplifting sensation that will not be frowned on by this cantankerous assessor. Love it I do - love it! Next, and a sneaking serpent of sound that is pencilled down as 'Tyskie'. It moves in before metamorphing into the most basic of tracks and is a simple boozing song that pays homage to the Polish beer that is apparently taking Britain by storm. This repeat insistence is there for the pisspots to slurp and slide with, nothing more and nothing less. I rate it as the weakest track of the lot but it has its place and perhaps is a necessary counterbalance to the more erudite offerings? All I can do is be honest and say what I say - there will never be any other way! Last of the brisk trio is the intriguing 'Down In The Dark Alley’, one of those Virginia Creeper moments that at first appears to be another sonic growth but one that soon reaches out, embraces with tough irresistible tendrils and chokes out a reaction. The zest within the weft of the workings is more intricate than imagined, the barbed branches incessantly snag in a quiet subtle way and as the plays are increased further interest, and pleasure, are aroused. NB - This song is about about a very dodgy back alley underneath Central Station in Glasgow.. and near Ivory Blacks and Audio Music Venue - so sayeth Rich McGlashan.
3 to go and a burst of therapeutic madness next via another jester despising jollity, this one unimaginatively called 'I Hate Clowns'. One of those moments that breaks the patternisation of proceedings and throws in a curve ball to keep you guessing. For me this is bog-standard noise rolling with a theme I have encountered several times over the years. I have to admit though that Tripwire DC do what they do well and this one has some nice touches and avoids a full on savaging but remains in some sort of strait-jacketed control. Not as bad as I first thought if I am honest!
'Not Finished Yet' is an accomplished song with many subtle sophistications that contribute to the songs fluid, fine-spun attractiveness that I for one am quite mesmerised by. It doesn't brandish the more blatant qualities of some of its cacophonic colleagues but it has a quite proficient plumage that is waterproof from any Fungalised critique. No rush encountered, no unnecessary scabbiness to try and create a false punk reality - no, just hard practiced, experienced musicianship with care taken to blend components and do things one's own way - my appreciation gushes. We close down with 'Count To Ten', a remarkable whisper of gossamer gifts artistically ruffled with the warmest zephyr that brings pure sonic sedation. We are lured and lulled, persuaded and pulled and gradually lain down on a waterbed of lucid, lazed and softly illuminated acoustica that finalises this fine CD and, makes sure we are convinced right up until the very last...breath.
I saw Tripwire DC 'live', I walked away taken. I have now listened to Tripwire DC on CD and I am thoroughly sanguine in my belief that this is a very accomplished band with a very rewarding and masterly release on their talented mitts. I shall seek them out again with salivating jowls and look forward to their next release with throbbing nadgers - cripes, pass me the pills vicar!
LIVE 'N' SLEAZY - COMPILATION
Nice and Sleazy is a festival (yes one of those), it is held in the crumbling seaside resort of Morecambe - a tragedy still happening and all the place is good for is some coastal birding, some cheap chips and an annual jaunt for some mixed and matched music (if you so prefer). This is a sampling from the 2016 fiasco with many good tunes to enjoy and perhaps, reminisce about. Here goes my take on the 22 tracks dished up - by heck I best tighten my text-tapping fingers and keep to the point here!
The Negatives are up first, the classic known as 'We're From Bradford', a defiant sing-a-long classic for the old breed and, if they care to have it, the new breed as well. It is what it is this song, it is about making a statement and pokes a finger in the ass of those who create division and think the big smoke is the be all and end all. I like this track, a long time favourite that still defies time, as do the fuckers who play it - they must be mad (I hope so). Big Fat Panda counterpunch against the opening punkery with the two-toned skarring known as 'She Makes Sense'. This is a fuckin' stunner and rises from the 'live' recording with sonic strength not to be under-estimated. The commanding gob, the cathedral keyed opening and the brilliant snag to the ensuing tune is mesmeric. The brass cream laden over the puff pastry of sound is gobbled up and swallowed in one satisfying chunk. From the first spin you will be hard pushed to defy a dance and my advice is to just let yourself go and let this upbeat explosion grab you. Next up and the reliable party people who turn out top tune after top tune come and blast out a song entitled 'My Girlfriend's Best Friends Sister'. Dirtbox Disco have proven their quality, have a repertoire many would suck their grannies teets for and the donation here does the job in keeping the quality high and the foot tapping. Great front gob, honest rhythm, expected trimmings - it seems simple but not everyone can do it - DBD can and they do it with aplomb. A cracking track and onto the emerald tones of Neck we go, a good band this and their offering of 'Sean South' is a nice switch in style for the CD but makes sure quality is still lofted. An intro seems to excite one chap and then the tinkles come, the military drums march us inwards, the whistles and strings enhance the sprinkling and keep this very much a themed tune leaking from a very special box. The blend is precise, the embracing warmth tangible and in truth, it may be run of the mill Irish infused acoustica, but it does do the business mighty well.
RDF next and the fine reggae drift of 'Babylon Is Burning', a mellow wander that is bass lifted and nasally sung and embraces the crowd with its meandering catchiness and shout out chorus that even a cretin with brain pox could latch onto. Accoutrements are minimal with a steady stick beat, a skank string persistence and a quick homage to the old Rutted classic of the same name and we are done, with all success safe. A good song followed by another pip, this one by Media Whores and their delicious donation of 'Black Widow', a superb cutlet that sees the poison of the strain seep into the soul with numerous questions posed, a animated undulation of sound eternally intriguing and the rising vocals of a choice standard and working above the tidy soundscape with classiness. This is a definite favourite of mine and keeps the quality bubbling.
Popes of Chillitown next and the casual snaking serenade of 'Now You Will Never Know'. This is a song that sidles in with brassed fluidity before pepping up and creating a skank-o-licious treat for those who like to hot-foot it on the dance floor and prefer some muscular relaxing vibes to shake off the blues to. The band do what they do, they do it well and all the expected trimmings are here - nothing more, nothing less. The first cover comes via Skaface, who put their own twist on the all time classic 'A Message To You Rudy'. Originally a rocksteady tickle by Dandy Livingstone and then later exposed by The Specials this is what you would expect, a two-tone treat that keeps to the tried and tested formula and no doubt hits the zone with all those festival goers. The band do the job justice here even get my knackered ass twitching. I do like a bit of this stuff though, especially the raw end of the monochrome wedge.
The mix so far is varied, vibrant and a solid example of what the Nice and Sleazy bonanza has on show. Good on em'!
A big name next, namely Sham 69 (well one version at least) and the famed head clout of 'Ulster'. After the recent deluge of jigging joy this is back to the grindstone with a biting gob off that sees the band simmer, clatter and saw-bone to the core of the punk instincts. The mouth is off the street, the tympanics slapping and the guitar buzzing whilst the bass remains orderly and provides good foundation. A loutish song, very much needed at this point! Loaded 44 jump up next and slap out one of their best songs, namely 'Get Ready'. This one begins with the front lass hollering and demanding attention before jumping in line with the tasty riffery that moves from verse to chorus with rock buttered ease. All sections of the song are firm and robust, etched with snagging hooks and drawing in the noggin of noise with ease. We change tack with Root Systems obvious but still sage advice of 'Stop Fighting Each Other' a song the world over should take heed of and instead of indulging in combat they would be well advised to shake off their stress and insecurities and have a good old jig to this uncomplicated but invigorating tune. Easily put together, skanked up and provided with power thrusts when necessary and full of balls out gumption not to be denied. I love this one, it is an effortless dance-inducing delight.
Broken 3 Ways enter the fray next, 'Free To A Degree', is a brassed up and polished new skank vibration that has that strain of sound so often found in nooks and crannies the whole scene over. I have quite an extensive skanky collection, primarily thanks to Do The Dog Records, and this is right up that street. Ska with a high animation level and a leaning to change route whenever the mood arises. Orthodox in some ways, spontaneous and unformulated in others - if this is your thing then fuckin' enjoy! Puked up next is 'Question Time' by a band called Vomit. The song is apparently about that Dickie Bow wearing cantankerous git Robin Day, a man who took no prisoners and shot down many ego's and snorted like a good un'. The song stays within its own limiting jacket and the band do not stretch themselves here but do they really need to. The CD is ready for some bog brush punk and this is what you get. Good plodding guitars, stabilising sticks and a sewer-stained gob - this is just what the insane Doctor ordered for many - those ruddy rampant perverts!
Time for some high end quality from a band I have done my bit with, hold in high regard and have seen flutter off on to bigger (but no better - I will always defend my DIY roots) things. Headsticks ooze class, are set to please the masses and produce quality tinkle after quality tinkle with consummate ease. I have gushed over 'Paper Flowers' before, I need not do so again but I will tell you this - the song is a behemoth, a work of acoustic art and it is a stand out moment - ooh me dribbling willy, I best stop there. Next and a band that has never been my thing, namely the ever popular Peter and the Test Tube Babies. The karsi based insensitive humour they are known for is no bad thing and here is brandished via a shit-stained sonic brush off known as 'Never Made It'. A tale of a follow-through, an unplanned shitty arse, a rectal faux pas of the foulest order. It has the distinct strains of the band and that over-forced gob work and shimmery string play all point to another Test-Tubian bout of madness. It is what it is, fans will fuckin' love whereas I can take it or leave it.
Into the back stretch, Reject Renegades offer up a love song (allegedly) and smooth their way in before opening up and showcasing their straight-ahead 'Fun While It Lasted'. A bitter twist of lemon sucking fruitiness that moves well and strikes me as a tongue-in-cheek tickler that has a consistent melody that keeps it safe but still appeals and gets itself worked up in glorious style. Kid Clumsey turn things down a nastier back alley with their chuff churning 'Pig's Bottom', a grinding tune with a very malevolent sable edge that cuts through to the core and clatters the nucleus. Piston-like, tortuous and ranting - it is a good curve-ball thrown into a CD with many flavours. The snarl is appreciated.
The quality of Nine Bullets is welcomed next with their plucky fucky bounce of 'Skank' a well delivered piece that has a double-she-delivery atop a pulsing underbeat liable to get you jigging with easy joy. No fluster here, no sinister sub-text - just a homage to a fine source of sonic escapism and done with sweet simplicity. Healthy Junkies take over from the bopping delight and billow black sheets of satin sound in an attempt to sex up the existing scenario and give their song of 'Nice n Sleazy' an erotic magnetism. It moves with seductive grace, piles on the atmospherics and whispers into your lugs with hypnotic desires - once again it moves the CD in a different direction and when the song becomes more passionate we are duly won over.
The last 3, the cretinism of Hung Like Hanratty knows no bounds and this superb sing-a-long classic surely gets each and every crowd joining in with the utter lunacy and manic message sometimes overlooked. The lads are diamonds and this song is a set in stone stunner. 'The Ghost Of Jimmy Saville' dabbles on the precipice of controversy, deliberately smears shit on the walls of pseudo-decency and whilst having a twisted laugh still makes sure the filth of the celebrity is spat on. Tis punk and it treads on toes - I like that! Skaciety pop up next and offer one last brass blow-out with all areas bass led and following the four wire weavings with excited gusto. 'I Don't Know You Anymore' is routine fodder for an articulate scene and here we get the usual high quality. The finishing touch of the CD comes via the slagging scrawl known as 'Hater', a middling closure that sees a slow crawl pick itself up and eventually get things biting. It finalises a CD with much to offer and takes us out with a very bitched up feistiness and dustbin lid rawness. The 'fuck the system' request is routine, I shall say no more.
A great compilation showcasing, what is, one of the best festivals around. I am not a festival fan, they are now overdone, part of a dilution and are just mirroring the commercial state of play which many denounce but let us face it - would love to be part of. Well not me, but even though I remain stout in my belief I can still wave the flag for this quality CD - now go forth and get a copy ye buggers.
PROUD CITY FATHERS - SOMETHING FOR ALL EP
Sometimes a CD will drop through the letter box and I am left clueless. PCF have me floundering and I can give no intro! I may be frustrated by this but the punky awkwardness of the situation is quite titivating and has my spiked attitude pleased. In a quandary I put a request on Facebook for help, I got a response and a nudge too and all became clear - oh me fuckin' noggin. The band is Proud City Fathers, a unit I have reviewed before but who slipped through the mental net which, in truth, isn't surprising as I approach the 1300 CD review stage. After a look back at my ancient scribbles I noted that their previous CD was well taken and had much potential and so I jump in here re-invigorated and ready to roll out the wordage.
The 'Blue Sky' opens, the first beam of solar spiked goodness to dazzle the attentive senses and after a scene setting bout of atmosphere the song bites hard on the bit and sets about creating a solid foundation of gritty music that keeps the formula simple but makes sure it is mightily effective. The chugged chorus gnaws at the listening bone before throwing off the strait-jacket of chordage and flying free with an intrinsically basic chorus holler that shouldn't work, but does. A very secure opening this, airtight, pressured and drilling - I find myself in a position with no complaints and the raw and suggested angst in the weaponry appealing to my ever hungry punk needs. 'Time To Bleed' headpecks with 'Rut'ted affect and drives with direction and throttling intent that really chews on the bone of the eavesdropper. Every ounce of resistance is squeezed out, the pores of the players weep crimson life-blood and the sizzling scenario set is maintained up into the last with a powerful blaze blistering the soul. The band are screwed in here, drilling with cruelty and offering no apology. I like tempestuous tunes, I like punk that is riddled with umbrage and discomforting violence - this is just such an offering.
'Work, Rest, Play' heaves in next and is an uptight song that ascends with frustration at life's injustice and the unfairness of a situation when the shits gain success and those trying to do it right...suffer. A very tetchy and worked up turmoil this that has a back-throb that glows with spite and keeps the angry front lout spirited. From the intensity of the verse comes chorus relief with a semi-terraced, streetpunk release that culminates in a 4 line whip that kind of sums up the foul imbalance in this wanked up system of ours. The fat get fatter, the starved get screwed deeper and the full rotations continue - happy days it seems - blah.
We fuck down with 'Love Is', a solid treatment that tramples over your senses in a robust manner and leaves an aftertaste of simmering frustration. From the strangulating coils of the bass, through the somewhat hesitant verse to the advancing theatre of stated hollers that rise and rise with passionate zeal this song sends out slow and steady tendrils and over a period of playing time gradually squeezes out a somewhat positive response. If I was picking the weakest song of the four on show this would be it but it is still a meaty affair.
For me PCF (Proud City Fathers) deliver a good FPC (Four Punch Combination) that is CPF (Crucial Punk Fodder) for the scene to feed upon. It is a slab of hard-hitting, hermetic acoustica that is not for the faint-hearted or those candy crushed half-wits who like things simple. Good effort chaps, good effort indeed.
IRON BASTARDS - FAST AND DANGEROUS
Iron Bastard sound like a nasty bunch and in fact, are just that. They are a power rock band who go at things with all intention aimed at making your lugholes pour that ruddy life giving fluid. The trio of warmongers hail from Strasbourg and despite being no metalhead or long-haired rocking lout I give this my best shot and call on every ounce of CD reviewing experience to try and nail something akin to the accurate truth (as I see it ya cunts).
The opening triplet of sound is distinctly alarming as it seems borne straight from the murky loins of that famed unit, Motorhead, which in many ways is a compliment and in others is not. I was never taken by the band and find this way out of my usual listening circle and so progress with the review on tenterhooks. What is initially thrown forth is a powerhouse of relentless hard rock with the band determined to pummel the senses with an opening hat-trick of relentless riffery that is escorted by slap happy power sticks and a throat that is certainly 'Lemmified' and doused with a ravaged rawness that gives the whole cacophonic corruption character. The band move with flamboyance, show an adept range of talent that many would murder for and the sonic sword is brandished with incessant passion. The pick of the powerhouses from the opening batch must go to 'The Code Is Red', a thoroughly torrential tirade that moves with massive momentum that sees all weaponry flourished with exacting affect and give a persistent pace injection that heightens the whole experience. It is a draining affair, a composition built to suck your sonic soul dry and if one concentrates too hard the brain is liable to turn to mush and leak from any available orifice! This a beating done in a clean, precise and calculated fashion - enjoy!
From here on inwards the batch of power donated is equally reminiscent of vibes suggested and is an exacting collection of sounds the heavy rocking ruffians from many eras will absolutely lap up. As I seek and explore further there are many points and songs that run with all flags of success waving with hot iron riffery, sub-solo flashlighting and those cigarette burnt vocal strains all thrusting forth with no looking back, no regrets and no inkling of a change in routine. 'The Wise Man' does ease the foot on the gas, walks through heavy sludge and gives one a pseudo-chance to re-invigorate the hammered bonse. Having said this, it isn't long before the band are upping the tempo and flamboyantly exposing their artistry to its full advantage - ruddy flash bastards. Other pinnacles that come are via the foaming and feisty 'Born On The Wrong Side', the slightly varied and highly accomplished 'The Snake In The Sky', a song that has many facets to grasp over many rotations and one that will reveal depths that at first may be overlooked. 'Vintage Riders' signs off this collection and is one to cruise the highways with, full throttle, loaded on the bottle and ready to die. There is a certain rock and roll recklessness about this closing track that kind of emphasises the semi-self destruct abandonment one may have passed by throughout the CD proper. I know a few free-wheeling fucks who would tear up the roads to this - good on em' those long haired louts.
There ya go, an overview of a CD that wallops hard and has its rear end ablaze from A to B and creates one long dense discordance that sticks to one distinct theme. For me variation is lacking, but I am an outsider looking in and striving to be objective - others, in the groove, will vehemently disagree. One thing to note though - there are no slack moments here and this watertight blast has real muscle - watch yer privates people!
SCARS DIVIDE - SONS OF TERMINATOR
2 songs for the masticators of metalcore mush and 2 portions that are rammed to the rafters with noisy nutrients and climactic violent vitamins. Those in need of a serious rocked up health check will be all the better for this brutal fist fuck from Vevey in Switzerland. Don't expect anything less than a downright beating here and if you like things nice and gentle or delivered with apology then you best fuck right of out of here...now!
The first track is sable metallised opera, a classical drama played out and fucked rigid over a testing and tortuous 9 minutes and 36 seconds. Throughout the skies vomit black tears, tears laden with acid, poison and passion. Lightning flashes come, forked and fuck and strike in a spiteful way at each and every weak spot you may have left exposed. The blustery howlers that blast occasionally break and give one respite but the musical cum meteorological kicking given has left too many bruises to forget. Visions of rain-drenched Lovecraftian beasts walking the battered lands in hope of escape come to the fore of the bleeding brain, each one glistening in a blackened light and howling along to the savagery. 'Sons Of Terminator (Parts 1 and 2)' is bulldozing grimness that razes all verdant anticipation and moves through any walls of resistance with elbowing violence. I sign off after a one long slog and come out of it surprisingly...impressed.
The flip fuck that glows with demented drive is slagged down as 'The Venom Of Leviathan' and is another toxic slab of intensity that leaves little room to respire. It is a heavy duty number and already I am feeling overwhelmed - my punk patience is stretched - oops. I am in no way on a downer here though, this is virile violence to stand in awe of and these warmongers of seething sonica certainly apply themselves with focused zeal and hammer out an earthquake of sound that many maniacal headbangers will fuckin' adore. I could rattle on with prosaic wanderings but that would be pointless - you get the drift by now I am quite sure.
2 songs, 2 cloudbursts of downpours of devilish delight. A very generic explosion this that will divide in the extreme and conquer in some small way. It is what it is, I can't see the band changing route anytime soon - and why the hell should they!
THE DARLING BUDS - EVERGREEN
Newport in Wales is where The Darling Buds threaten to blossom! They were formed in 1986 and yet this is their latest release since their last, all of 25 years ago! DJ John Peel gave them the chance to record 3 sessions and yet this Indie pop band never built on the promising foundations laid. Never fear, yesterday has gone, today is now and tomorrow could lead anywhere. On my mitts I have 4 tracks to assess so there is no reason to dilly-dally and dwell on things that might have been.
'Evergreen' is just that, a lasting verdant vibration that sparkles with hygienic, mountain spring freshness and cascades from heavens pure and honest. Those twinkle strings, soft tympanic touches and gorgeous feminine donations of refined, country breezed innocence finalise an opening account that is al fresco acoustica untamed. The whole summery application is sagaciously delivered without feeling too rehearsed and overly plastic and all I can ask anyone to do with this number is to play whilst outside under the clear skies, with a summer zephyr kissing your skin and any cares in the world...banished. Lovely.
'Guess The Good Parts' skin ripples, shines bright and moves with greater fluidity and a more babbling brook direction. The pebble lapping effect and rushing waters have less distinction than the previous effort and the song is a more compressed construction as a result. This doesn't deflect from a wholesome tune that blends the delicate and the authoritatively subdued with a commanding wealth of insight into the bands chosen drift. The more I listen to this the more its tendrils embrace and convince - it is definitely one of those we tag as 'growers', and there ain't nowt wrong with that!
'Complicated' has a freshness, initially operates via a squeak and shove methodology that drops coins of comfort onto your awaiting sonic slot. A pulse prickles the eider-down soft upper layers and helps things move into a chorus that isn't as dramatic as it should be and falls back into the blankets of sound without much effect and leaves one a trifle unaroused. The sheets are gently rippled rather than robustly ruffled and although this is a soft pastel parading I wanted something more determined splashing on the canvas. Not a favourite if I am honest!
'Twenty One Aches' finalises the four on show and is an easy contemplative meander of soothing tonal quality. It has bubble-bath laziness that sees musical steam rise in plumes of scented consideration that is best inhaled deeply and let to swirl around the listening lungs so as to absorb the true life blood of the drift. Whispered and wispy, thoughtful and in no rush whatsoever - expect little, do not delve too deeply and you may just well be rewarded.
The end opinion is of a cute band with a gossamer fragility that suggests callow naiveté but is reinforced with a stout underlay of insightful talent and understated simplicity that really is a craft in itself. This isn't music I would play each and every day but it isn't music I would shy away from or stick the brutal assessing boot into. A fair effort, the first song is a peach, I shall retire on that positive note!
STUPID KARATE - PUNK IS A FREE PRICING CORPSE
Stupid Karate come from Lille - they are stupid, they are noisy and they have committed the crime of asking your Fungalised fiddler for an assessment. I accept, get my ears screwed and come out with a textual toss-off as thus.
'The Devil Rides Out' opens with old computer game sonics that ring a distant bell in this crumbling cranium of mine. 'Barbarian' perhaps - I know not! The song that follows is heaving and perverse and insanely seeking out the black inner nucleus that makes the most depraved tick. Double ended gob fucks penetrate, the guitars brew up a glutinous storm and the sticks thunder crack with seizured spontaneity. The final thrust is clamorous and organised and it takes us out with all powerlights flashing - a good wake up call, not for those with sleep still in their eyes. Grunt, grope, grind - I spill the second overview - it has me leaking blood. 'Embrace My O-Goshi' makes no sense to anyone wishing to observe certain decencies and live a life of cleanliness and moral exactitude. Those who are thrilled by the beauty of disgust will lap this up like a mongrel on leprosy and let the weeping filth flow down their ever needy throats. A power slap, a direct gallop with the musical mares arse belted with vindictive desire. Towards the last few fucked up furlongs a few exhibitionist touches come and then we are thrown off onto the seat of our jodhpurs - ouch!
The next brace and a cover begins, surprisingly 'Pet Sematary', the Ramones classic that I thought would be the last song a group like this would tackle. They grab the bull by the horns though, play one of their most orthodox tunes to date, with a certain clean cut opening verse that harks to US dabblings such as Bad Religion and the likes. The move into the chorus is preceded by a rousing fluster and then we have the sing-a-long treat we have been anticipating. It is delivered with gratifying vibes and I applaud this one like any long term punker would. We close the quartet here with the vampiric advice of 'Stand Out Of My Sunlight'. Tub thumps, downward spiralling guitar drills, desperate edged gob labour and a nagging revolution of wire weaving, A switch out and a chance 'whoa hoa' holler for those intrigued. The song races in, hits an eventual glutinous spot and then crawls out on arthritic knees. Does it deserve a kick up the arse or does it meet your needs? Personally I would have preferred a full on slam out.
I am done, I still think this lot have more in their tank but are well on the right track. Something untrustworthy strikes me here, as though the band may take any inane route and leave me off kilter - I am, at this point, still wondering!
WE ARE INTERVIEW - MONSTER, MONSTER
Cripes – who the hell are this lot? We Are Interview are a crew I have never heard of and with a name as such it may be just as well - what a crap tag indeed. This is besides the point though and if the music is good all will be Fungally forgiven. The band are a rock outfit and hail from Geneva and were originally called 'Interview' (gosh the controversy) and are inspired by the likes of Grunge-based bands and outfits such as The Foo Fighters - ooh heck. Fuck all this, here is what I make of the output - grab yer gonads folks, this could hurt!
'New York' is our first discordant destination and plays a cool hand with carefully spiralled guitar making way for a verse that lays good foundation on which a pre-chorus preparation can come before true glory is attained via a catchy blow out that rings out the EP's title and immediately draws in the listener’s attention. Impetus elevates, the coming together of all components is increased to a compression level that leaks the blood of life and thus lets the rest of the song run with great fluency. This opening gambit displays high levels of attention, good cohesion and tamed but effective power, it is a song I am very much taken by. The same feelings can be brandished for the second outburst too, a song slapped down as 'Tokyo' and one perspiring with torrents of glowing chordage that pulsates, chugs, flashlights, rushes and keeps the whole construction alive and thrashing. The verse is concrete but when it is smashed apart and the chorus is allowed to dazzle through we are bowled head over heels by a stunning moment that requests, desires, demands...everything you have got! It is a brief burst, extends itself with the use of cerebral imprints, impressions that become ingrained into the great gunk and set alight an inner reaction that will never die. The cacophonic catalyst is perfectly timed and delivered and this song outweighs the fine opening number and makes for one superb brace.
'Johannesburg' is the piggy in the middle, it initially scrapes dirty talons over rusted metal before moving on with a predatory persuasion that sees the muscular haunches tense, release, tense and...hypnotise. The grace with which this sonic beast moves is sanguine and solid and the stride through your attentive undergrowth is done in such a way as to be almost irresistible. The production levels are exact, a sub-sex drips, the barbecued throat cadences are perfect for the cause. One for the rocked up methinks or those willing to be converted and perverted. 'Edinburgh' opens on tympanics and gobbage before hop-frogging along with a definite pulse push that activates highly relished rhythm into an ever-impressive CD. This one is blows hard, puffs out its cheeks and gives a blast of hot acoustic breath that we won't forget. The cymbal pressure escalates and drags all players along whilst bass and guitar react from each other’s offerings and build up a chain reaction that persists and allows the lead lout to indulge in flamboyance and the front gob to hail with ease. The job is a tidy one!
'Chicago' closes, whips itself up into a good early storm and makes sure those string stabs get right to the heart of the assessors matter. It is another bold and brazen song that rises on string waves, stays on a foaming crest and even when the waters calm down the SS We Are Interview has plenty wind in the sails to make sure impetus never lets up. The metallic drive manifests itself throughout and despite the song lasting beyond the 5 minute mark the band captivate and stay in control throughout.
I have surprised myself here by semi-gushing over a 5 track treat that is out of a rock and roll arena you won't normally find me inhabiting. It is a very decent piece of cacophonic kit and is mixed well, played well and delivered with a distinguished panache so many fall short of. Cheers chaps, consider this punker (for the time being at least) perverted!
CUT - SECOND SKIN
Anti-Pop Records deliver this 6th full length offering from Cut - a band who have been on the block since 1996, ping forth from Italy and who mix and match several specific styles. I am fucked off with writing intros, here is the meat of the matter instead!
And to the first, 'Shot Dead', cool wires begin, grandiose attacks from all areas pounce with brass enthusing and cruising. The vocal attack is flamboyant, overspills with a superfluity of insightful class and cutely adorned acoustica. We repeat the trick, from the thermally chilled to the keenly cascading with a certain Chiaroscuro appearance to the end splash down. The strokes made are swift and slow, natural and then more controlled - it makes for an initial cacophonic puzzle to play with further. 'You Killed Me First' is heavier, carves deeper with a palette of more brutal shades all recklessly blended before our attentive zones that, to all intents and purposes, need to be wary of an ambiguous danger that pervades. The band work from ad hoc regions where a feeling is transmitted of tones thrown out that feel right at the time as opposed to what felt right on a previous occasion. The hunger and relish breed oxygen into the lungs of the song, the bass is a dictating engine for the other components to rely on - this is challenging produce.
'Too Late' skin beats, donates icicle cavern throat expulsions. The whole mix is built from those opening jungle tympanics and remains a quite angular and frenzied hotch-potch as slippery as an electric eel. It wriggles away from an accurate assessment, gives the odd shock and disorientating dilemma and I go in, ponder, fuck off out the other end none the fuckin' wiser. Do I like it or do I hate it - bah! 'Parasite' is a better burst, a very flamboyant and ever-changing expulsion of art-laden liberation that brass-rubs when needed, splat fucks accordingly and seizures throughout to give a melted abstraction that borders on that which is jazzed. There is a very definitive style manifesting itself here with an underflow of tetchy disgruntlement against those life-draining fucks who attach, absorb and abandon - oh those nasty bastards. There is much life in this beast, it kicks and condemns with virile agility and I am liking this one the best so far!
Sideways on a slide of glory.
'Automatic Heart (Tacoma Time Travel)' pulses, pushes and pukes out a squirming worm of sub-ambiguous acoustica that just operates beneath a quelling membrane that sees the song remain semi-subdued and not thoroughly exploded into the aural caverns as it should be. Maybe the production level is a trifle low, maybe my ears are shot to bits (highly likely) but this well-constructed escapade loses 20% of the thump factor somewhere and I just can't for the life of me pinpoint my gripe. A decent do though and keeps the awkwardness high. 'Take It Back To The Start' cools down the heat, meanders with grace and sidles beneath your attentive substrate with crafted care. It is a cute tickle with sub-funk bass, soothing orals, mentally wired guitar bursts and a finger clicking casualness. Each component works as a stand-alone but really shouldn't fit into the end portrait. The fact is though that each jigsaw piece slots into place and I remain puzzled as to why this is the case? A quite smart piece this, yearning for a replay in many ways, be it the situation or the song!
'Second Skin' next and a shard-adorned piece, a metallic barbed-wire entanglement that unwinds itself, is brandished and then...brutally garrottes. A very malevolent edge slices, a distorted grimace spasms and sweats, the song is one uncomfortable episode that is stripped bare and then clothed in designs of decadence. Obscurity dictates, the paradoxical phenomenon of premeditated spontaneity manifests and masturbates, I can only write what I feel - odd and rewarding in the same breath! 'Holy War' is an accomplished effort although still with that degree of uncertainty and chancy whimsical creativity. The finger cannot be placed on any centre point of distinction and where this one comes from and threatens to go is always up in the air for your guesswork to nail. The elements involved have generous life, the start raises the pulse, the persistence pays dividends. Next and 'The One Who Waits' bubbles, simmers and rises above a tangible spume. The first pseudo-verse leaves me cold, the nudge in the back isn't firm enough and as we plummet further into the depths of the song I am, at this point, left outside the circle. The coming together of clashing guitars rouses the routine but it isn't enough and despite a good Joy Division-esque bass sequence I am just falling in the shadow of this one. Have I overdosed, I am glutted, am I just being a pernickety twat?
'Paralysed' is indeed a crippled cacophony that seems to struggle with its own structure and just have a pecking problem in maintaining any semblance of balance. It is the second track I find myself unsure of and just can't seem grasp the gist of the song. This is an angled and mangled cur of hobbling music which fits the title and the trouble it can create. There is a very patchwork aspect to the product, a cut, paste and piss feeling I very much applaud but it is a definite 'thinking' number rather than one that leaps out with essences of enjoyment. It does pick up, displays deeper desire - mmm, maybe I need a rethink? 'Catch My Fall' is more of the same and falls from several tangential lines that start apart, criss and cross in an network of ambiguity before parting again. Numerous re-alignments take place, a few stutters and stops and some groovy furrows are glided down but the song remains capricious and incalculable in many ways and that is a methodology that will create much befuddlement in many bonses. We close with the slightly quirked and head-tortured 'Crash And Burn', a closure that sees the band stretch their own foreskin of experimentation to new extremes, duly let it go and feel the pain of the tuned twang back. The critique of this one will be as varied as the tones proffered and it is a challenging tickle on which to sign out. To upset the applecart should never be frowned upon!
An oddity, a gauntlet thrown down, a band testing your waters as well as their own. There is much to marvel at here and although a few latter tracks didn't stoke my cinders I can see what the band are trying to do and make a good estimation at where they are coming from. Where they end up though is anyone's guess.
STREETLIVE - COMPILATION
A compilation track, sorted by the mitts of some Blackpool musicians who wanted to put something back in to a worthy cause. The following text was lifted from the Bandcamp page - 'Streetlife provides support and shelter for young people between the ages of 16 and 25 to enable them to make informed choices about their situation and issues which affect their lives. The Nightshelter is entirely volunteer-run and opens 365 days a year to support vulnerable young people who find themselves homeless through various life issues. The Day Centre is an inspirational building that provides learning opportunities; practical support such as access to food parcels, showers, low cost meals and internet access; intensive support with specialist workers to help young people who have challenges with their housing, finance or health and we run outdoor activities such as climbing, walking and cycling which help to improve young people’s confidence and self-esteem and promote healthy living. All of these activities are supported by a team of around 30 volunteers.
So 12 tracks to assess, this is the Fungalised lowdown of a very worthy effort.
First up and Du Pig lung eject some manky clogging tones via the mucky melody of 'Personal Filth'. Unsettling, furtive and garage-esque the opening gloop drips slowly and thickly and will ruin your carpet slippers of apathy if you are not too careful (you cerebrally idle cunt). An indified jaunt, loaded with grungey grindings, deliberate whisperings and an undercurrent liable to unsettle your stability if you don't use your noggin and make some mental effort. It is a good substrate layer and you should get down with it and enjoy the coating of sludgery donated. Eye The Bomb funk you with their classy scratch and serenade sonica that undulates with accuracy and passes over a pizzazz one cannot resist. 'Debt Roulette' is clued into the street, deals with life today as it pans out in many spheres and despite not being what punks would expect this pisses far more spiked attitude and intent. The shimmery sound, the fat twat bass, those grooved-in gob bursts and the overall fuck funk aspect deliver the goods over and over again from a sonic squad on a roll and bowling me over with their artistry!
From one crackerjack to a masterpiece of wise talking insight via The Karma Party and the quite stunning 'Elevate'. A key-pulsed bout of magnificence with a message of obvious but most noteworthy importance and one that surely must be heeded by any level-headed, straight-thinking 'erbert. The whole arrangement and orchestration of this passionate 'from the ticker' tune is precise, well-aimed and undoubtedly fuckin' larger than life. The call for unity is irresistible, the time to think is now - listen up, crush your ego, embrace your neighbour. A stunning classic peeps, ignore at your peril and fuck all prejudice! Random House provide some fine 'Jive' and shuffle up a sound dish of skidded and sub-skanked funkiness with a bass manipulation and a blue light urgency in the wires providing a highly palatable output of smooth streetwise sound to get thoroughly off to. The smash and grab sticks collide with gusto and all the gob is left to do is fall into the musical melee and let his oral stuff do the business. It is a tall task to which he rises (the dirty devil) and the total impact of the song is bang on the mark. Great inclusion.
So far so ruddy good and onto Solid States and the cool crackerjack known as 'Fall Away'. A real processed piece this, articulately put across both musically and lyrically with sapient application had to the overall arrangement. The minimalised pre-chorus section is carefully handled and adds a subtle transparency, a delicate off-track wander and yet keeps the whole escapade sweetly moving with consistency. Nice indeed and into 'Everything I Owned Is Nicked' by Three Headed Monkey. Classy, smartly suited and cutely booted this crafty cut of hygienic auralisation is way out of the trough from which I immerse my snout and feed but even this pig has gotta respect the fact that the mix is precise, the movement fluent and the texture both smooth and effective. The vocals are lucid, the swish of all musical swords cutting and there are many I know who will be happy to indulge in the overspill here. I can’t blame them for that!
Next and Almighty just manage to gain a grip and clamber up on the set stage and produce the uneven and emotive thrust of 'Alpha State Of Mind', a song that overstays its welcome and just becomes a little further outside my own listening range of hospitality. The band though are in fine fettle, vibe it up with tight security and add many flamboyant touches to an ornate effort that perhaps is a little too sugared up to be palatable. Just personal preference dictating here and despite the superb vocals and many other applaudable touches I am not taken. There's Always Another Summer chuck up the more tranquil bed of sound known as 'I Drink Therefore There's Darkness'. A wispy susurration that uses light and careful brushstrokes to adorn the canvas and one that alters the direction of the CD proper. The up-tinkle of the guitars, the move onto dramatic panoramas and the sweeping gesture of the whole movement may not necessarily be my first choice of tuneage but I can recognise the style and decent application donated. Related To Lions hop up next and contribute a restless number known as 'Win Or Get Wiser'. This one is an electronically compressed number that moves with a flat-line focus and never lets up until that final blast. New school punkeage is the feeling I am getting here, hybridised with that 90's essence that saw a certain cleanliness invade the spiked pit that many took to. I was somewhat immune to the lightened discord but there were many good moments to mentally debate. That is what I do here after many listens - I remain on a rickety fence of indecision but give a positive nod to the attributes of the song and overall delivery. Troubadour next and the sonic 'Shelter' constructed is done so on honesty acoustic cabling that is delicately adorned but given an inner framework that has much strength. It is what it is, one of those 6-wired affairs that keeps the flame low but still sears the attentive skin. A certain trepidation and a lucid vocal style make this a captivating addition and although it has its limitations due to being a minimalistic piece it is a necessary inclusion.
Two left and the penultimate track wanders over hallowed frosted substrates where dew is kissed by early morning sun and mists of premeditation rise around the gnarled limbs of stout trees. That Hidden Promise deliver sub-gothic drama and scene-setting theatre with their quite effective 'Goodbye Avenue'. A sub-textured coronach of heart-wrenching labour this one that is, in its own emotive way, one of the best tracks on the CD. Pure, natural and very moving with a image-inspiring stride I am quite absorbed by. We close with perhaps the most established band on the CD, namely Sonic Boom Six and the subdued light lilt of 'Northern Promise'. I expected a real fandango finale where the tootsies and the ass would be provoked into a reaction of dancing delight and see this whole collection go out on a high. Instead what we get is one of those coffee-table stirrings that is too milky to be palatable and lacks a real frothy liveliness I am perhaps guilty of anticipating. The song is chilled and flowing but it just lacks any crucial barbs to drag in my sonic interest and I sign off this collection on a low. What a shame but purely a question of personal taste.
Besides the last minute blip and the odd niggle this CD is done for the right reasons and showcases a good range of tonality and talented outfits. It is quite an eclectic mix which, even if you hate 90% of what is on offer, is always a good thing and anyone who likes to roam outside their own scene (if indeed they have one) is advised to have a bimble here - nothing ventured, nothing gain and all that bollocks!