FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
 
 

CUTTIN' EDGE - FACE DOWN

I knew fuck all about this band and when the CD arrived through the letterbox and I placed in the music player I went in a pure as the driven snow.  I listened, became entangled in the melee and after numerous spins was ready to spill out an assessment of this Edinburgh based band.  I took my time, as per, replayed each track several times and hoped I would get something akin to an accurate review, this is what leaked from my overflowing noise-nobbed noggin.

The CD begins with the remarkable 'Play It Loud'.  The song openswith electro wire-sparks flying this way and that before a quick respite is had and then a full-on molestation of musical celebration is borne.  The sentiments are solid, come, get hammered, drown in the noise and just fuckin' have it.  The gruff and passionate vocals demand action and a lively racket and that is just what we get with a hard-travelling throw-down taking no prisoners and just fuckin' going for it.   The outcome - a solid opener awash with strong vibrations and tight-assed musicianship.   The quick follow-up is entitled 'False Advice', another meat-mincing moment that brandishes the wire-work with fiery relish and sees the tymanic membranes clattered to fuck whilst the avalanche of oral heave-ho's come in great appetising slabs.  In the mix semi-metalised manipulations are exposed, an underscore of Motorhead-esque pebble-dashing aggression batters without apology and a certain undying energy is injected.  2 songs down, you should be well and truly awake by now.

'World Away' dabbles with things more cultured before slapping down a more orthodox verse that falls with ease into the swift and highly exciting chorus burst.  The impetus and the bubbling accents of the verses really snatches at my resistances and when the tumble-tongue-tripping speed of the chorus unfolds I am truly captured.  The band combine the facets of good quality mixing, hard chuggery, appealing tempo and an anti-war angst to create another utterly appealing song, I reckon the hat-trick is well and truly completed here - a top corner finish if ever I heard one.

The next two songs are equally top notch with 'Shit Generation' a finger-point at the obsessed mobile users who are so distracted that the world can (and does) turn to shit whilst they remain indifferent in a mire of digital bullshit.  The opening metal twists soon breakdown into a heavy duty mechanical meanness with the snarling frontman wound-up and spilling his vitriol in a controlled yet seething manner.  Many hooked up and sunken will be singing along to this or perhaps filming a 'live set' on their phones - fuckin' hell, what next? Punks in masks, jabbed up and saying fuck the system - surely not!  Whatever your views - think about the message here and enjoy the banging tune.  'Face Down' is a shit-curdling title-track with a no-nonsense 'fuckin' have it' style that places down its intent, sows many cerebral seeds before blossoming into something rather special via a chorus that is drenched with determined delivery and downright good-to-honest bone jarring music.  The band, within the mush of bowel disturbing music, hold onto a strong fist-raising chant and rant melody that breathes fire into the whole construct.  The greedy continue to take the piss, the controlling cunts roll the dice and the duped go forth and die - fuckin' wake up, music like this should be more than just a tune.

The second half of the CD, so far so fuckin' good.

'Accident Emergency' flashes in, lays down rumbling foundations and pushes on with a quite orthodox methodology that is given life via the now expected energy, growl factor and abrasive leanings.  Foaming with fervour and a love of the output what we get here is more of the same and perhaps the least impacting song of the lot so far (it has had a lot to compete with) and yet it is a solid effort that keeps the CD moving and full of meaty flavours.  There is no let up and I move into 'Genocide' still chomping for more.  Here we get are thumbscrew of sound perpetually maintaining the pressure and making one wince in perverse appreciation.  The content sees a tribe ripped apart by deception and manipulation whilst power-mongers no doubt wallow in their pseudo-victory, a victory built on nothing more than evil desires.  The irritation of the output is plain to witness, the head down and do it approach still pays dividends and if these songs are played out during a 'live' encounter, without any fucking about and in-between song waffle, then we could all be in for a head-melting treat - blazing stuff.

Suddenly the last 3 songs are before me, I am welcomed by a mammoth moment known as 'Religion'.  A stealthy start ascends, guitars glint, a consideration of where to go next develops into a rave against the brainwashing regimes that have been responsible for an endless age of suffering, torment and utter fuckin' lunacy.  The heat emanated from this steaming track glares with incandescent fury, the compact and enraged meatiness rams home its point, the inner break is class and the final holler emphasise the fact that the irritation is still alive and kicking.  I requested this track for my Fungalised Bandcamp page - I think that says how I feel.

'Only The Strong' refuses to fuck around, gets the sweating head down and races forth on relentlessly impaling machinations that make no apology and create a great foundation for the roaring frontman to fuckin' leather out the lyrics with tonsil-straining aplomb.  The pace continues before a pause, a bullet-spray and a shout out of the chorus comes.  The magnificence of a machine well versed and souped up with amphetamine fuel is a joy to behold and this slap-happy slam-dunk is a belter.  We fuck off on a high, 'How Do We Know' tries to initially play it cool but the temperament boils up, a speed increase comes and something special is posted into our cerebral mail boxes.  The verse is healthy, the chorus a perfect upsurge and as the song travels the disillusionment, the drive and the all-consuming impact grows and grows.  By the end of this momentous number, and indeed the CD proper, we are left with a touch of advice and we are left fuckin' overjoyed with a job well done.

10 tracks, 10 reasons why you should keep an eye on Cuttin' Edge.  The band provide ear-splitting noise, ill-temper and solid melodies amid a thumping mush of impacting animation.  Yeah, I am keen here, is it one of the best CD's of the year so far? You fuckin' bet it is. 

 

SNIDE - PUNK-SUTAWNY

Snide are still at it - do you believe it?  Apparently you better had!  The lads from Kent are truly bent, on not giving in and still producing the tuneage - I am investing more time and looking forward to it. The band have tickled my tonal undercarriage many times in the past, I am a perverted bugger when it comes to good noise.  I delve in with eager haste here, I do have 16 tracks on to dabble with - by heck I am excited.

'Right Place, Wrong Time' is a beauty, racing forth on initial tones that are saturated through with old-school vibrations that still affect the inner spiky heartstrings.  The slightly rusted wirework is emboldened by a well-wobbled set of bass cables with the drums more than up for the task.  The energy exuded from this opening number is just what is needed as I am a great believer in CD's going straight for the jugular.  The brisk and fresh approach is energising and the accents from the sub-generic pit of favoured sounds is right up my street.  'Recluse' enters on good preparation with sticks and strums in adhesive unity and ready for the task ahead.  A guitar groove adds spice, the music continues with highly magnetic ingredients before old-school hollering enters the fray and states a feeling that I can truly relate to.  In these times of 'lock up and hide away' with so much entertainment at one's finger tips and the public arena showing itself to be madder and madder by the day, I certainly feel like bolting the doors and keeping the idiocy at bay.  The song swings along, sings the praises of the hermit-ised lifestyle and really has some guitar cuts that really get me bouncing.  Sometimes things have gotta be simple and delivered without fuss - here is such an example.

Third track to tackle and 'Disorder' travels without fuss, has a light and breezy feel without getting too steamed up.  The opening tones are laid back before the dust is kicked up and the band set about making a disturbance - albeit in a decent and orderly kind of way.  A quite clean-cut piece this that has a very comfortable feel that reminds me of some sub-early 80's noise that was usually found on an obscure compilation CD - the type we moochers in the acoustic undergrowth are always thrilled by.  'Idle Nation' digs a fist in the ribs of the couch potatoes who laze about immersed in a world of media mindlessness that they let stew within their lazy carcasses thus creating further inactivity - both mental and physical.  The avalanche bombards the cranium and creates a care-free crowd of crapulence that obviously disgusts the crew in charge of the cacophony here.  The song is an adeptly constructed and played matter with acute lyrics rolled out with observational accuracy whilst the string work is sweetly rusted yet hygienic, the bass lively and bubbling and the sticks tidy and prone to adequately timed machine-gun attacks. All this makes for one of my fave tracks - a right good slab of well-played noise if you ask me!

The next couple of songs are 'Last Night' and 'Miserable Bitch' - the former opens with a great casual lick and goes about proceedings in a stated manner that works a treat.  The chop and chug mid-paced movements are calculated and somewhat cold but all the while capture a scenario that has great aim and a need to be rid.  This is a song with a weight that grows, a strong pivot in a CD that is getting better by the spin.   The second song of this next couplet also has a similar approach with an initial stop/start promise that soon irons out and moves with more adhesive fluency.  The song has good animation levels and is in keeping with the standard set thus far but I do prefer other offerings, especially its near neighbour.  I like the easy way the band play out this one though and the acidic splashes that bring visions of a grumpy bag who doesn't give a toss.  The splashing cymbals and the direct lyrics are an added bonus.

Another brace to deal with and 'Don't Want You Back' is a middling kind of number that loses its dazzle against more impressive pieces.  I play over and over as a standalone and like the quick pep, the Snidey flavours and the fresh breeziness that blows throughout - my main gripe is that there is no real spark point and heave-ho in the mix and what we get is a rather flat-lined number, albeit a line that flows on a decent level.  I just expected a little more - greedy or what?  'Peace Of Mind' is more like it, a good bass grumble, some good choppy guitars, a lick and a thrust (ooh sexy) and into the meat of the melody we go.  The flow is uncomplicated and effective, all areas lucid and we come out of the other end singing the chorus and reaching for the replay button.  Simple sonica - ya can't beat it!  Now all I need to do is try and settle the brain and chill - I reckon I have no chance.

'Quicksand' comes next, a very capable blow-out with a consistent structure that keeps one in the mix right up until the last sonic thrust.  The effort poured forth seems easy, the band are on a roll and here they exemplify everything good about a unit in the groove.  The smooth segue from verse to chorus is well-oiled, the constant chugging of the noise and the incessant tempo is all-consuming and the sing-a-long moments are destined to delight many a pit-dweller.  'Invisible' splashes, rolls and makes its mark with a great groove that develops into a great snag-happy sharp-suited song that moves with great efficiency and well-rehearsed precision.  The move from the quickly stated to the easy chorus is spot on and the on-going niftiness of the whole arrangement has me utterly caught, hook, line and sinker.  I consider this a real pinnacle; those verse vibrations are utterly magnetic - wonderful. 'Hey! Mr Joseph' gallops along with a swift incisive sing-along liquidity and gets the corpuscles surging through the arterial system thus setting the framework into animation mode.  A speedy tuneful street-sounding spill-out that leaves me with little to add.  Good to honest gumption loaded sonica with the melody maintained and the appeal high - I move on in a good state of mind.

Into the last 5 - I inject some reviewing pace and tackle the bunch in what I hope to be one embracing and accurate slab. 'I'll Decide' clouts, rattles, keeps a strong consistency but fails to ignite any real spark.  A level-headed number with a relentless drive and a straight-ahead composition that is as tight as fuck but just lacks that killer hook - it is a fair song but nothing special.  'Hard Work' pounds, stick whacks with authority before looming large on chugged riffery.  The follow-on escapade is in opposition to the commencement and misses a trick - I feel as though the time was ripe for a good bout of heavy domination and throbbing intent.  What we get is more lightly whipped thrustings enhanced by a good meaty backline.  It is par for the course and rubber-stamps what we already know about a very articulate band - I was just tempted too much by the opening threats.  Onto 'I Believe', and a quick push, a light and thoughtful verse and over and out in double-quick time with all aspects as decent as ever.  Take stock, dwell, go forth with a better view and whilst doing so get this tune as an escort. - now how's that for a quick summing up?

The last brace and  'Get Back In Line' strums, Tommy-Gun sprays, repeats and cracks on through all aspects and angles with the simple rant and chant chorus a great winning aspect and giving this more than competent song extra life.  The inner chug and state may be orthodox but these moments work well and such is the case here.  It breaks the flow, but with the least disturbance possible.   A good penultimate track this and taking me into the finale of 'Go On'.  The closure welcomes on rust-bucket dirtiness before smoothing out and finalising the CD on a casual and unflustered moment.  No great shocks come, no severe dips take place, what we get is a comfortable departure with just enough gumption to keep one involved.  There are smatterings of the old-school here, they aren't overly obvious and there is a slight injection of bittersweet leaning which again, is subtly placed within the mix - not bad at all.

So, Snide deliver a fair portion of noise, and in the main, convince.  They just need to watch out the odd trick doesn't get missed and all numbers have a snag, a hook or something riffed up to buggery to showcase the bands high potential.  The are some smashing tracks on here though, Snide are a solid band and worthy of any rough and ready music listener's attention - have a ruddy gander and maybe check out more releases by Dammit Records. 

   

NOUVEAU BLEACH - NOUVEAU BLEACH

From the vast unknown swing in a band with an individualistic streak that bodes well for the future of the DIY pit and all its many facets.  The band are a 3-piece from London, apply to their output a grungey, sub-gothic cum garaged sound that copulates and collides and gives birth to something highly provoking.  My assessment comes on the back of a review that my good friend Eagle Spits duly coughed up and inspired my curiosity - DIY minds operate in the same way methinks.  Anyway here is my take on the 4-track tickle - have it.

The title track of 'Nouveau Bleach' is a delicious throwback to basics with a charmed garage-esque strip-down with the band tackling the current state of play that sees the land parched, the liars win the day and the world turn to utter sickening shit.  The spartan application is founded on a gravelly underscore of 4-wired trembling with the guitar adding nice contrast via light retro-alternative strums that remain sanguine in their simplicity and without need of becoming more orthodox and expected.  The skin work is equally light and confident with a persistent metronomic palpitation that has a verisimilitude to a ghostly reality.  The vocals are individualistic and complete a quite appealing DIY offering - nice!  'Pharmakon' sidles in from recesses of thought before rising against the big chemical business that sees the profiteers swallow the sweetest pill whilst the sufferers become addicted to bitterness and end up in deeper pain.  The barons of alleged cure-alls are mere vultures filling their crops on the agony of the masses - fat fuck manipulators they be.  The construct here plays it cool, shuffles and states with a certain anger bubbling under and helping clarify a quite sinister situation.  The musical creation is well-worked, avoiding the fuzz-fuck trappings and holding onto its own set style whilst the front warbler adds his chilling throat enunciations in brain-snagging sneakiness.

The 3rd track accosts me, comes under the tab of 'Kondonauts' and goes about its business in a now recognisable fashion.  The message - keep it tidy, keep it organised, and then shit yerself when happiness has duly fucked off.  The chill comes in many formats, the uncomplicated fashion of the stealthy music has more inner strength than one may give credit for and the questioning quirkiness comes with insight before you are left wondering where indeed the sparks of joy are best found - certainly not in the everyday bullshittery many indulge in that is for sure.  Another slice of approachable noise with a nag, that doth shag, the cranial bag.

The closure of this quartet is the unsettling account known as 'Thoughts And Prayers' a song that starts with a jumble clutter before almost insane oral repetitions come and a relaxed strum ensues helping things take on a more reclined posture.  The sticks clobber with a certain industrial machine-like quality, the collision of the cobbled and clean works and the somewhat sub-horrified throat warbles are borne from an observational stand-point that becomes more rickety by the minute.  The Bleach works continues in its own way - let the flow consume you.

I have this lot booked for a gig, I am intrigued and reckon the sounds here will reach a new level when seen 'in the flesh'.  I like hearing tremblings off-kilter, here is such an episode of DIY goodness that I hope many will embrace - I must stay sober though and realise there are some right old inflexible niches out there.  Hey ho, here's hoping and trying! 

   

DAS GHOUL - NOISE-DAS-NOIRE

A band dipped in terror, a 13-track treat here not for the superstitious or faint-hearted.  Having been impressed with the band’s latest offerings I felt it only right to dip back and do an outstanding release I hadn't yet reviewed.  So far things have been hunky-funky-dory (with nobs on). Here, although tiptoeing to the embryonic stages of the band, I am expectant of more blood-gushing goodness.

'There's Something Wrong With Sara Jane' opens the latest jaunt as we prepare to trip the black lights fantastic.  We are given a warning, a brief intro that puts one in preparation for a meeting with more 'monster makers'.  The first tale deals with a family walk in the woods resulting in a vile demonic possession that is accurately relayed unto the mental receptors.  A young girl is seen to thrash and spasm amid this swirling and swift tune that is just a perfect start to a highly anticipated CD.  The layers all have space to breathe, the underlying mischievousness is subtle, the eye for the macabre more than obvious - a real treat for those who like devilish ditties.

Schizophrenic doppelganging dictations come next with an accursed victim forced to commit crimes and seemingly still wallow in a scenario of innocence.  'Invisible Simon' is a curse, an inner demon hell-bent on deviancy and casting the blame elsewhere.  A confused man goes forth under dominating commands and does many a dirty deed whilst the nebulous and nefarious Simon walks away free of guilt.  A cracking cutlet this, one to unsettle with cerebral doubts and those tempted to trespass into things deemed wrong.  The band capture all areas perfectly.  We segue forth on keyed tiptoes into the slow brew of 'Jacqueline' which is a neat change in tempo and comes forth with a glimpse taken at a she-slasher wandering forth in lamp-lighted streets where the unwary dwell.  A very cool stroll is taken via the tempered musicianship with the ambience carefully set and sending a creeping hand up one’s spine to duly raise inner concern.  This is my least favourite song of the trio sent my way thus far but it is still a decent listen - the band are operating at a very heightened level.

'Death Warmed Up' is the most straight-ahead concoction so far - lots of gumption, good pace, orthodox verse and chorus cuts and as per, lucid components all there for one's admiring lugs.  A cymbal splash, a plunge into the midst of what seemingly seems like pseudo-necrophiliac infringements with fear again a factor to be reckoned with.  This is a fresh and fluent movement that doesn't fuck about or waste one's time - it is a ruddy beauty.  The twisted love of 'You Are The Plague' is cutely played out with yet more keen-eared know-how and more well-oiled lubricity that reaches the easy access neurones and sets them all-a-tingle.  The obsession is recognised for the overpowering infection that it is and despite being caught hook, line and sinker, there is a trepidation to consider.  The whole while the backdrop of sound is strong and melodic, note must be made of the keys that inject layers of extra life into this and the other mixes - tis ruddy wonderful.

A quick grasp of 4 tracks - 'Intruders' asks a question, gets an answer, tub rolls the response around the deepest recesses of the sonic mind.  A maelstrom of noise unwinds, words spill from a body in suspended animation, visitors are not welcome, where is my one and only true love?  As a house is invaded and a haunting becomes all-consuming the band weave an observant path down many eerie halls whilst leaving a decent tune in their wake.  'Sound Receptive Crawling Hand' is a new twist on the killer-limb theme with the crew articulately developing a take on matters with a bionic appendage on the loose and intent on murder.  The quick thrust of the song enters on blue-light flashes, maintains its impetus and makes good to honest progress on a substrate of shifting stable melody and the usual cavernous under/overtones - the keys are once again major players and bringers of delightful depths.  'She's Not Of This World' is a pseudo-space age suggestion with great gumption and alien-based adoration.  A lady walks amidst the Oi Polloi, the radiation of beauty and threat is immense, the lead vocalist is taken aback and truly smitten.  The pop song delivered in homage to the extra-terrestrial beauty is melodious, smooth, to the point and easily digested.  When the band keep things short and sweet they thrive, this is an example of the musical prosperity exposed.  A bounding bass chased by sticks, more strings and the synth take us into the zippingly accurate call up of 'John Wayne Gacy's Circus' a gruesome sideshow advertised by plucking fuckers very much looking forward to the blood-letting spectacle by letting their feelings overspill into the highly relished sound-splash.  Heads will roll, vomit will pour forth but hopefully this finally slapped down number will help you feel better.  The chorus is an easy cut to follow and join in with - 'hip, hip' hooray'.

I creep into the back stretch and encounter the slow mysterious melodic trappings of 'Flies In The Windows'.  A zenith of the CD that carries a coolly controlled terror factor whilst laying down a foundation of reliable atmosphere.  The opening strains are from sable cathedrals, the prominence of the ensuing strokes is more than a little imposing and the tempo of the song is just ideal for the scenario set.  The graceful glide into realms where the clammy claw of Death may have claimed a new victim holds attention, it isn't long before we realise Death has been thwarted and a reanimated corpse is among us - enjoy!  'She's So Cold' has stand-alone strength, is a souped-up number that soars high from the off and with a focus on the end silence and getting the job done.  The opening thrust is inescapable magnetism, the verse and chorus cuts are sweetly fluent and all along this latter end ride I remain utterly absorbed and sonically smitten.  The sinister content of the crooning is mere icing on the cake.

The last brace, 'V. E. R. M. I. N' takes centre stage and what a stunning rodent of rhythm it is, gnawing away with ascended clarity that helps it scamper to the fore of one's attention and demand some individual note.  I gotta say that the verse is a strong contender for moment of the whole CD - it has just a fantastic appeal that glides into the stated chorus with sanguine solidity.  A sharp piece this that reignites all attentive sensors - just what the twisted doctor ordered.  We finally end matters with the cat-killing controlled spite of 'Goodnight Kitty' - a calculated and considered piece of malevolent scheming that sees another garden-crapping creature go under the spotlight and get lined up in the sights.  As per, the band do what they do with consummate skill and easy application - this last tinkle is laden with underlying dubiousness and a real sense of ill will with the scheming music a quite ideal arrangement that showcases a very good band indeed.

A healthy lucky 13 of darkened dabblings has been delve into and I have come out bloodstained, beaten and bloody well excited.  Das Ghoul need more exposure, more consideration and more respect - I am up to date with reviews, I demand more but want the crew to make sure they don't rush things and ruin a great collection of sounds - somehow I don't think they will! 

   

HEADSTICKS - C. O. W.

And from the midst of a nagging pandemic and a time when the rebels were exposed as unreliable, the social shits desperate and the rest of the Oi Polloi fuckin' senseless, I try and find some sanity and salvation in the confounding maelstrom of madness.  Being productive is par for the course and creativity endorsed, a bit of good music in the mix is always helpful.  During the closed months I have been more immersed in the realms of Northern Soul in between usual reviewing requests, here I go a trifle folky with a band I have always held in high regard (even when a tune is not to my favour) – I like to keep things varied. It has been a long a fruitful journey watching (and assisting) this lot, they have moved on into realms I happily leave to others (you will never beat level zero) and yet still keep me in their loop (very kind).  Here is the latest offering, take your time, I have listened long and hard (as per), there is a bit of sense in what I say (even if I do say so myself).

We open with the anger-infused regularity of 'Red Is The Colour', an anti-war raving that has a deep gut-grumble, a persistent skip in the sonic step and an unrelenting pressure applied to the inner button marked 'indifferent'.  The propaganda machine had its way, the blinded walked unto death, the ruby rivers that flowed were easily forgotten by a world quick to advance into pig ignorance and selfishness.   When I first played this song I was unimpressed and also detached from the content, with effort and patience the song has embraced me with its emotive value, musicianship and intentions - not bad at all but...a huge shadow is cast as the first moment of magnitude slaps home under the tag of 'Peace And Quiet'.  Headsticks have a prosperous array of classical set-list songs and here we have the latest recruit that will be vying for attention as the pen hits the paper before the band clamber up onto stage.  An environmentally alert number I hope aggravates many a soul into doing more for this precious planet whilst arousing their acoustic sensors with a quite magnificent outpouring.  The opening verse has a gratifying gentle oscillation that follows on in fine style from the initial doom laden vibrations.  The slip into the chorus is lubricated to perfection with a sing-a-long injection destined to please the sweating faces in the pit.  I play this one until the CD runs bald, I seek out blips and blemishes, I resurface admitting something rather immaculate has passed my way.  Headsticks at their best here - conscious, conscientious, thinking and using the music to relay a message and all parcelled and packaged with great affect - will you take heed and be the one!

'Miles And Miles' rolls forth, has a dubious inner core and radiates a tale that seems to have a distinct sourness.  There is an internal resonance of something country-fied, something almost from the backwoods where a couple go too far and the conclusion goes cock-eyed.  From the intense confessional verse we hit a chorus with a familiar she-shadow adding extra tonality to the oral arrangement.  Strong string shuffles and pepped up tympanics add energy and I travel on with the gist and let the final slap out leave me convinced - not a bad do.  'A Tear For Yesterday' is a treacly, wallowing song that is not my thing.  It is a jagged and ragged disarrangement devotedly determined to roll in its own cerebrally inflicted wretchedness.  The tears roll, borne perhaps from a guilt or of a need to self-flagellate and banish some demons.  The uneven surface to the sound reflects inner turmoil, a soulful upheaval that leads to an inner break of clattering cacophony.  The band, I suspect, are dabbling here and that is no bad thing, I recognise the aim and the relationship between the content and the music, I am just not rating this as a fave.

From a personal dip I rise up on high to marvellous majesty of 'Tyger, Tyger' - a song that is bordering on acoustic perfection and captures a feeling of those wounded, put upon and in need of a helping hand.  The game has been taken out of the victim’s hand, the trials and tribulations have brought one to blooded and wearied knees, what beckons is truly dreadful - sometimes we all need a lift, sometimes we can go beyond help.  This tragic and soulful sojourn into internal passageways of ticker-tearing transparency is a truly pivotal point in Headstickian time and one that shows this is one of the best bands on the block (like I have always told ya don't ya know).  From the first spin to the latest, this is a tireless acoustic edifice laden with longevity and respect winning ingredients - a true behemoth and one to take deep heed of, if you see a soul suffering go forth and help, be that listening ear, radiate that love.  'This Ain't Politics' is a neat follow-on, one that fucks the ego-soaked arses, shouts out for the opinion against the flow.  Shit times inspire shouted requests and if these pleas are done with erudite insight and sincere forethought then I for one am convinced.  There is a plucky spirit flowing here, the clarity of all areas is sharp and helps one get utterly involved.  I hear more lady lilts, I hear textures deep, I feel the effort and the ease - I don't need to investigate and elucidate further - this will do for me.

'Naked' has an earthy old school feel from the depths of darkened discordance where ill-temper duly dictated.  The preacher comes and raves and rants against the predators that take everything...including the piss.  The swift and jagged attack that comes is done with a precision not easily understood via one or two listens and again time must be invested to gain true clarity to the sonic subject matter placed under the lug.  I rotate, play low, play loud and come out yet again...won over.  A good injection of spunkiness - never nowt wrong with that, unless your arse is of a tender leaning.  'Red Sky' drops back to lighter tones, the more obviously orchestrated approach that the Noggin Twigs do so easily and adeptly.  The strings flutter and swing, the skin clattering timber tepidly keeps time, the front hollerer pours out an anguished oral flow.  Questions are asked, a certain sense of abandonment and a feeling of being lost arises - time is the enemy, the old Father who rolls on with disregard and detachment - what a bastard!  'Burn' is a choice cutlet carved out with an insightful talent and a knowledge for a good tune.  The angle has a defeatist desperation but still radiates a counterpunching uplifting that creates a somewhat acoustic oxymoron one can mull over and over and come up with repeated conclusions.  The swing of the paradoxical serenade is honey-sweet, the vocal overlay as troubled as ever.  The verse is angst-laden, the chorus deliciously easy and at times shadow-enhanced with caring she-assistances.  The abandonment of hope seems prominently intertwined with a need to rid the world of idiocy - I like it.

I enter the remaining three walking on a cloud of delight.  The sweet joy that is 'Opium' is poetical dignity striving to remain upright and august against an eternal feeding that sees the populace get drugged up on falsehoods and failure.  This is the shortest song of the lot, what a diamond it is, shining bright from a velvet underlay of supreme comfort and cultured shadings.   There are further avenues of exploration opened here - the band still have many great things to offer.  The jangling juxtaposed follow-on is borne from injury, nightmares and being a victim of a constant battering from both afar and closer to home.  'Speak Out' and 'Danny Boy' come as one for me, both raging against the silent, the acceptant and the ones taking a whipping whilst the world and the wankers carry on regardless.  A gut feeling arises, we hope they get theirs - the problem is, they may get off free of charge.  There is a viciousness in the mix, a tangible resonation of a carcass thrashed and having had enough.  The wordage spills like an ad-hoc current splashing and foaming over a rocky rhythmic underscore – it hits home with a mighty crash.  As a sufferer and an unsettled 'erbert for many a moon (since year dot in fact) I can easily relate to the inner machinations here and as strange and perverse as it seems, I uncomfortably enjoy this one.  The end verdict - fiery stuff and ruddy damn well effective.  Note to all - don't just sit and take it - 'speak - fuckin' out' and never let the demons take control.

So, these are the ramblings of a man trying to be honest, fair and in-tune with what is going on.  As a fan of this fan band and having done a small bit for them and reviewed all their dabbling to date this is a ruddy good do and displays a unit with a wealth of fuel left in the tank.  I will never claim to like everything by a single band, lying and kissing arse is not my way, I hope this adds weight to the word when it spills praise - it is done with complete sincerity and meaning which I think, in this instance, tells you how good this CD is - have it!

   

MOST LIKELY TO FAIL - I FEAR FOR YOU/BURDEN

A long-term favoured band are hanging on with several line-up changes had over the years, a strip down to two pluckers now the state of affairs and with many distractions in the way of full-on productivity par for the crumpled course.  Here the recipe is simple - an A-side original, a B-side cover, both played with MLTF's usual attention to detail and ear for a good melody.

'I Fear For You' punctures, twists, states and spirals before letting loose and dashing along in good spirit.  The lyrics come thick and fast, the state of the social play is laid bare with beatings, murder, distress and shattered lives all brought to the forefront of the examining cranial gunk and left there for one to ponder further.  The rapidity of the construction tests the player’s mettle, as per, they rise forth with flying colours.  The blend of all areas is exact, the message within the mix shows compassion and an understanding of a situation that causes concern.  Hate and a lack of respect gnaw away, become a prevalent predator forever on the make - what a bilge situation.  I like the pace injected here, the self-perpetuating momentum and the construction of the song - only one gripe arises - I feel that when the vocals enter the music gets pushed a little too far into the background and loses its wallop - or is it me?  Beside this, we have here a track I am salivating to see 'live'.

The opposite side of the disk is a cover, one originally carried out by that Irish singer/song writer Foy Vance, you know, the guy with a shit moustache.  Anyway the song was sent with a terse message -  'Another cover in the tradition of a MLTF single/cover release. Perhaps not the punk style many would approve of!' - well there ain't nowt wrong with that!  'Burden' is a soft meander with a thoughtfulness for the weight of worry others carry on their time-worn shoulders.  The subject matter needs a tender approach and an individual stamp - I feel the treatment given is precise and the beautifully harmonised chorus moments a sincere pleasure.  My eclectic taste-buds partake of this warm, pre-melted melody and knowing the crooner I can feel his caring attitude emanate from the spinning silver circle.  The string touches are more than apt, the drift languid and liquid - tis good to see people step outside of any safety zones.

I am an unabashed MLTF fan, if the two tracks here were absolute shite I would say so and still be a fan - the fact is though the job is a good un' and I am more than pleased.  The key now is to get these buggers producing more and to get them gigging - now therein lies a truly monumental task.

   

DAS GHOUL - TRIP THE LIGHT PHANTASMIC

A fun band with some serious music made.  The band take on the horror theme, tap in to realms of chill-tastic goodness and creepy cruising intrigue - I am duly taken.  Having reviewed a previous effort by this Oxford-based band I was more than keen to delve in again, they have something good going on here and they do what they do mighty well.  Having said this, a good review is never a done deal with this old Fungalised fucker and the music must be dealt with honestly, fairly and with a view at squeezing the best out of a crew.

And to Track One where we hop on board, get pushed along and enter the darkened caverns of the 'Ghost Train'.  Speed is immediately gained, a good rattle and roll rhythm injected as we plough forth wondering if we will ever come out alive.   The string work is tight, efficient and reinforced by some clouting stick operations that really give the song 'ooomph'. The lyrical content is simple but sweetly undulated alongside the rhythm. The harsh coruscations of the strings are a perfect ingredient to this opening thrust.  Magic.  'Twisted' is a beauty.  The opening blend of strums and synths builds excitement, the cold and calculated approach of the verse is sharp, the slow melt into things more liberated and flowing is sublime whilst all the while the band command and make sure the construct is incessantly magnetic.  The vocals remain lucid, grab one and insist a sing-a-long is had.  The inner fear portrayed by the creative mind is palpable, the unsettling thoughts that come from a head under pressure, a noggin battered by bad vibes - the kickback is very close indeed.   The more I listen to this piece the more I am drawn into the fold on the strain, the more I recognise some very adept music going on and that the song under the spotlight has a certain class.

'If Only I Could Remember' operates with a majesty and intricate insight.  The content of the song is articulately relayed with a scenario set that sends chills down the imaginative spine. The ascending and descending ivories are manipulated with classic haunted effect.  The tale unfolds, a let-down has occurred, an emotional outburst is suggested, a murder most foul has been committed.  The band, rather than go for the obvious, play it cute, lead us slowly into the depths of the detail and do so in a quite brilliant way.  An absolutely stunning track this, the gothic trimmings are delightful.

'Roses Are Dead, Violets Are Black' deeply rumbles before exploding on a pseudo-space age starflash of sparking affect that really does add a new dimension to an already multifaceted CD.  This latest song has life, animation and a strong inner backbone of sound that completely and utterly works as a stand-alone or as part of this dazzling sextet of sound.  Death enters the scene, the crows gather and feed, I join the flock as this is choice melodic meat for ravenous lovers of the rhythm.

'Dresden Bats' is pronounced, sanguine and utterly impacting.  Here we see two night-time flying creatures take to the wing, live, love and look unto death.  The European skies are envisioned in a dusk-like setting with this silhouetted duo of shady intent swooping and gliding in a curious coupling of other-worldly resonance.  An erudite and pseudo-operatic song with a gracefulness and generic exactitude the order of the day - tis another winner folks.

We close this latest six-sided fascination with the observant 'Scissors'.  A voyeur suspects a certain trimmer of barnets is adopting a Sevillian role and duly killing his hirsute clients.   The onlooker is aroused, investigations are made and what is exposed is a complete gruesome gamut of ghoulish indulgence, a veritable flesh feast straight out of the 'Vault of Horror' one suggests.  The band gallop with good pep here, still they maintain the all-important clarity factor and I for one, am greatly appreciative.  The switch between styles is liquid, the band round off a quite excellent CD in supreme triumph - snip, crackle and pop.

I reckon, come end of year, this EP will be one of the best things I hear - it really is that good.  Fun, melodic, horror-fied and executed with excellence - what more does anyone need?  Tis terror rock and roll and needs be nothing else - any other label would be a mere dilution and an insult - here's to great things for this band - now let the word be spread.

   

REALITY ATTAK - GREATEST BITS

The Mother of Music duly 'squat'tted, a sonic sprog splattered onto the debris of an abandoned site and duly began to holler.  Kicking and screaming and the air was rent with a flavour from yore and situations now a rare commodity.  The time however is now, here we are granted 15 tracks in celebration of times of earthiness and indeed a back to basics approach.  I invest yet more time and energy and do so willingly, one must be appreciative of doofers but one also must not get carried away and offer favourable falsehoods to try and tick a box - here is another truthful review as far as I can see it.

'CS Gas' throws me down a time-tunnel but holds onto modern day credentials with a sound offering that is docu-style-cum-dirty dog-cum-fuckin' real.  The opening verbal soundbite and industrial whinings are soon taken over by a solid regular rhythm that rises from the apocalyptic depths were the governments have their way and the minions are left in a mess with music their only hope.  The sound here takes me back, brings me forward, convinces me that DIY is the only decent din out there - I fuckin' love this one.

A good old bass intro, a tin can rust guitar layer and some skip and trip skin work takes us into the meat of the mucky melody known as 'Cryptic Clues'.  A good to honest dirtiness unfolds with a crusted coarseness concealing more quality than the flimsy fleeting passer-by may just realise.  The quatro-cabled weapon leads the way, the strummer and drummer follow, the warbler is soon encouraged to join the fold.  The opening verse is solid in a kind of untrustworthy way, the underground aspects are not lost on me and there is a certain honesty running deep within the thread.  The sub-chorus appeals, the inner break is in keeping with the swing, I like this one and the hope it radiates - here's to a new day.

Onto 'Jay's Song' - another grubby throwback that pays a visit to the house of modern day but one that outstays its welcome and leaves one deflated.  The opening belly grumble and ensuing overlay of strung shittery is decent enough with the snotty gobbage suiting the task at hand.  Some good fuel is burned but the mid-paced style needs its wings clipping and allowed to fly only over a slightly shorter distance.  The verse and chorus are too merged and so interest wanes - hey ho, most CD's have one or two moments that fail to thrill - here is one such example.  'You're A Cunt' is a nasty unrelenting song that finds its motif from the off, ploughs along with focused attention and snarls and spits with regularity.  No great explosions come, no extravagances are dished out via the sonic spillage - what we get is fair fodder for those with a problem with the uniformed bastards or anyone else that pisses them off - sometimes it is all that is needed.

A snatch of 3, tis what I do.  'What Goes On' bass chops, rises from a wasteland of sound before wailing in the abandon deserts of time where these sonic hollerings have been temporary lost it seems.  Very unprocessed, very honest and with a good lick of underscurrying vibrology, the only gripe I have is the song becomes too jammy and travels far beyond an appreciable running time - keep em' short and punchy chaps - let the fuckers gag for more.  'Tribal' fucks about, eventually spews forth its catchy rhythms and brings back memories of watching a crew called Buff pour forth their noise with great effect and eager infecting wonder (RIP Loki).  This is a good 'live' snippet, it captures the mind-melting radiance the song is intended to create and I duly play over and get sucked into a situation where I need a fix - is this a bad thing - I think not! 'We Got Out' has a lovely sloppiness in the accent, works with a pure punk riff that nags away at the easily persuaded senses.  The low scabby cur accents and total indulgence into the growing noise is ideal to melt one's cranial matter and force it to leak from the ever-gaping lugs.  I like this one, it needs volume and a jigging escort - I duly oblige.

I grab another fistful and deal with them in double quick time.  'Reality Track' is an old song I have heard, it is a gratifying number but has me comparing it to a battered old shoe - you know the type, with its laces undone, tongue hanging out, sole falling off and many scuff marks seen here and there.  Tis a song with a charm all of its own, what can you do indeed!  'Pretty Girls' tip-taps in, finds a hook, grubs matters up and somehow gets lost amid its own warblings and weavings.  A song with a lack of direction it seems to me, a ditty just in need of a stronger spine of sound and a greater clarity.  I listen in hard, tis difficult to generate any real enthusiasm for this one as it is just not grabbing my eavesdropping gonads - maybe it's me sonic underpants, maybe not.  'My England' is a good scummy soup that is lightly delivered with the barest musical touches and with a gob straight from the well-worn streets. The effort just stays on the right side of 'in-tune', crisply negotiates the airspace and does enough to make for a very honest and real outpouring done in an unassuming and unaffected way.  I play over and over and get further drawn into something very gritty, approachable and pure.  The last of the swift quartet is 'Course The Police Are Coming' - a smogged blue light warns, an impetus is grabbed and maintained, the warning that repeatedly comes is spluttered out and we remain in situation 'filthy'.   The solo is an exhaust plume of absorbed manipulation; one can smell the stench even from afar.  The bass is on a roll, it isn't enough though to stop the song from crumbling into a flyblown heap.

4 left, I dash to the finishing line.  'Wall Of Sound' is smooth and moves with good pace.  The arrangement is up front, the words stated and with intent, the musical mush at times orthodox at others squelching and in danger of going too far off kilter.  The homage to the noise-laden realms and the general emanation of soaked belief are areas I can relate to, again though the song overdoes the running time.  'Schizophrenic Civilisation' is one of the best, a real nasty outpouring with many points ringing true and nailing the society in which we dwell for the melting pot of ill-mental health that it is!  The grim reality of observational eyes comes with a relatable accent and from the compost bin of life we are left to ponder some very decent dross methinks.  Onto the last 2, 'CS Gas Skulldrums' is a protest song for the protestors, a murky affair from the depths, rising against the Criminal Justice Bill and all the horrid intricacies and insults found therein.  I like the string skip in this one, the overall dusty feel, like a relic found in the post-action rubble, a reminder of efforts had and voices raised.  I right grimy shit-out this - no arse paper needed, enjoy the stench.  We close on a high, perhaps with a glimpse of where Reality Attak should zone-in their efforts.  'Living In A Field' cruises, reclines, scratches its funky ass and then tells a tale of a man on the outside and doing no harm but still coming under harassment from the so-called Lords and Masters (otherwise known as wankers).  For me, anyone wanting to be free and being neat, tidy and respectful of nature whilst doing so gets my vote, alas the few that do, get let down by those that don't.  I like the questions posed here, the smooth sonic flavours and the contrast to all that has been - it is a very significant full stop.

I am now outta here, I hope I have given insight into the noise-makers intentions and outcomes, now I am just awaiting the chance to get some gigs booked and hopefully get this lot a slot or two. 

   

SALEM TRIALS - SHELLFISH GROK N ROLL

What strange essences emanate from this double-ended outfit who dabble in things usually deemed off kilter, outside the norm, and most crucially, annoying to the regular rhythmic slaves.  The band claim to be out of time, which perhaps makes them in time but not of your time - the paradox and ambiguity deepens. This latest release, on the ever-intriguing Metal Postcard Records, is a blend of things natural, raw and perhaps psychotic.  For me, these 'under the radar' releases need to be given daylight and if all right or all shite the fact is folks are refusing to play the game and are doing things their own way - hip, hip hoo-fuckin'ray.

The opening slab of testing tonality is enslaved with the name of 'The Life For No One' and begins with a real old school lick that gathers up the standers-by who have a bent for things 'off kilter', acoustically singular and perhaps, uncanny.   The vocals come from amid the weavings, they are almost of a swamp-monster effect and create a gloopy sensation whilst the music paradoxically flows smooth.  To add to this intriguing mix comes suggestions of things garage'd and countrified - this is all positive stuff.  I remain taken, dip into track two and find 'Looking For Elise' equally magnetic for all the most bizarre reasons.  This time though I am dealing with a spasm of noise, a really sleazy jerk rag that emanates a smell I am familiar with whilst at the same time coming across as something foreign.  Pre-spunk punkism is involved, a ghoulish desire to create from the darkness with a predilection to unsettle seem to be elements of the constructs raison d'etre.  I trot along in sync with the tune, enjoy the Stoogey vibrations and raw rock and roll aspects - a duo for a mood, a couplet to swill when the connoisseurs hat is donned.

'It Ain't No Fun To Me' is a troubled tune, squeezed through a taut sphincter of release that is in distinct pain and backed-up to utter buggery.  The stodgy produce that eventually emerges is cloying, suffering and of a certain stench that needs some adjusting to.  The blend of tortured vocals, intense tuneage and slowly sizzled music is one for those in a distinctive frame of mind or those on heavy drugs - this is a song only to be played in small doses.  'One Size Fits Nobody' has more groove, more liquidity and more swing.  The opening twist works well and leads into the soporific and somewhat mystery laden vocals with idling aplomb and a fair degree of subdued success.  The tone is laid back, the message one for the outsider - no matter if you don't fit you better still be you.  I find more country-fied essences arising, I should be turned off but I am not.  The band are making for a hypnotic sub-psychedelic situation and I am more than happy to swirl with the tonal twirl thus far.  The inner pulsations heighten the experience and keep one alert - not a bad do at all.

A middle bunch of 3 are taken as a group and duly assessed.  'And Then' is a lovely wander through passageways of gothic and unnerving emotion with a smooth underlay that gives a certain comfort.  From deep recesses of minds molten and with a need to groove on down we have here a very satisfying musical mix that is easy to digest despite its oddball nuances.  'Like H. Faust' follows, it is a neatly jerked number that adopts a rhythm both asymmetrical but also made up of a pseudo-logic that kind of makes sense.  This is an episode of musical dabbling with the verbals almost thrown in as an afterthought it seems.  The fact is this would have been a nice intro/outro instrumental with fades assisting the effect - worth thinking about I reckon.  The last of the trio to go under the fleeting reviewing mitt is 'Cursed X U', a warped dream drift with all shades and hues idly swirly and merging into one centralised murk that we are left to decipher.  I study the sweating and caressing movements of the molesting montage and come away unconvinced.  A trifle too laboured and of one strain with a recline in the delivery at too great an angle for my present needs.  I can see where the band are coming from and perhaps, if I aurally squint, can see where they are aiming for, it just isn't a favoured route I wish to travel.

'Iron Fist Velvet Glove' is a real funk fuck, I like it when this lot up the tempo, play with more excelled rhythm and, dare I say it, dabble on the precipice of things more orthodox.  I would like to see the gob contributions be given more clarity and be injected now and again with some serious hollering but this one does fine as it is and has many undercurrents of sound I am more than happy to wallow in.  The lick is definitely of a staple rock and roll bent - nice.  'House Made Of Paper' plays it cool, plays it gently and submerges itself in a scenario of haunting and unsettled oddness which by now, is only to be expected.  The treacled meander is testing but if one adopts the right pose and adequate frame of mind it does work.  The initial thoughts of gloopiness are soon banished and one can relax into the mesmerising mire.  A song to be used as an excuse to smoke draw methinks - why the Hell not!

We meet the final shut down via the escorting hands of 'Snake In The Sun'.  This closure is a tranquilised posting with more risings from aqua-anarchic depths with a watery serpent of sound ascending, making side-winds to the shore and basking in its own sinister motions.  Personally I would have preferred an Electric Eel of sound to sign off with, a real thrashing shocker to throw one off kilter but, this lot do what they do and do it without distraction - I do wonder where things will end up though!

So, an interesting listen outside of the limiting box.  In parts I have enjoyed, in parts I have drifted off and lost the thread, throughout I hope I have given recognition to a unit doing it their own way.  The main message here is if you have a desire to produce get up and fuckin' do it - do not worry what the rulebook says, create, copulate and therein will be success.

   

SICK THOUGHTS - POOR BOYS/DRUG ROCK

Punk and roll, when blended with things old and things new is a difficult recipe to get exactly right.  Here we have a one-man outfit taking on the challenge with a 2-track teaser laden with much know-how, a fair degree of flamboyance and an utter immersion into the noise-making abyss.  From Louisiana in New Orleans our prolific plucker-fucker is obviously well-versed in his output and this donation on Goodbye Boozy Records is another choice offering from a label becoming more apparent on the Fungal radar.

Track one and 'Poor Boys' has elements of 70's new wave and early punk with a quirked accoutrement of live-wire pulsations that will certainly serve the speed-heads well.   The souped-up drive gives a slight buzz in the cock, takes one to a destination near Venus whilst throwing in many other sonic scenarios that could go on and on...and on.   The musical components play it straight, are jacked off when the need arises and given room to be successfully flamboyant now and again.  Pond-crossing compliments come with UK/US modulations adding to the chicanery and of course, the intrigue factor.  A good blast of fresh and kicking music - yes.

'Drug Rock' is a low-slung groover, played right out a backstreet gutter club where the genuine freaks and weirdos (God bless em') jive away the night and waltz and writhe to such beautiful ditties as this.  The lights swirl to the eager rhythm, the dancer's eyes roll back and things get heated when the artiste struts his stuff with utterly absorbed zeal.  The 'fuck you' feel isn't wasted here, the chance to overindulge is nicely taken and the execution done with great aplomb.  The strut in the sonic scenario is sanguine, the angle adopted is carefree and yet attentive - it certainly is a spunky, uncomplicated number and I am always willing to be bummed by such vibrations - ooh heck.

Yeah, a couple of musical doses to wake up the system and get the blood flowing.  A trip backwards, a trip forwards and a slab of the here and now - get up and grab a piece of this now folks, tis better than having a wank.

   
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