FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 11
PMX - DARK DAYS
Make That A Take Records march forth (yay), this time with more modern-edged stuff that of course will still continue to split the generic audiences favour for the flavour. This one comes after a lengthy break in released material and is backed up by some hefty big talk, which, as per, is all the by the by for me. I make my own judgements on what is emitted rather than what is said and so plunge in completely unswayed as usual (some say it’s a cunt thing, I say it’s a struggle for pure honesty). The band puke up their produce from Perth and hail themselves as the 17th best band in the UK which is quite controversial as I know a guy who swears they should only be 18th (snigger, snigger). Anyhoo, where they are from, where they are rated, where they drop their personal motherloads is neither here nor there, onwards we go.
The beginning comes via, 'Pull The Trigger' an abounding avalanche of colliding and complimenting embellishments tumbling around on a melodic mattress that is well rumpled and crumpled. Several listens (and more) are definitely needed to catch all the elusive tonal butterflies that take to the air from the instance the bed springs are twanged and as I write I get more and more flabbergasted. The initial highwire pulses, that typical tympanic nag, the ensuing fast scuttlemania, the injection of sharp strung fuel and the clear vocals that kind of contradict all expectations have me appreciating a work that is one for the musical connoisseurs and in-scene aficionados and not the pick up, play and toss away passerby. The mix is superb, the power bursts tamed and the energy levels fair, I just hang in there and come out with hands clapping hard - phew.
'Eulogy' is a similar song with all sorts of layers to peel away and explore, with very much patience once more needed. The cool tones of gobbage, the overspilling impetus and the busy, busy approach has me beat when not fully focussed but when in the mood has me appreciating the articulate talent on show. It is very much 'in the mode and mood' music and if stressed, on edge or just plain grumpy - leave well alone. Too much going on if the head is not thoroughly cleared. Besides this seemingly negative (but very wise) recommendation the only slight niggle I have is the lack of rage in the tonsil work, the lack of abrasive sandpapered outburst that would be very much welcome here - hey ho, I perhaps ask too much. Not a bad track though for those clued in pirates. 'Another Year' starts with fast melodic chirpiness similar to a rubber rectum nervously affected by a thousand wasp stings. It really is an invigorating opening that whets ones appetite for the forthcoming deluge of traditionalised in-genre animation. Low brow vocals float over the whipping undervibe and so offer consternation or delight dependent on your standing but either way is undoubtedly reflective of a band coursing hard with much effective skill and in-scene nouse. There is once more an abundance of vavoom and controlled authority and the switched out radio moment is a mere adornment to heighten that which surrounds, job done!
A trio to go, and starting with a brace of songs that are best dealt with as one due to them both doing very little for my sonic senses or, may I add, my acoustic erogenous zones, 'Without Me' and 'Brave Face' catch me cold and come across as two technically astute deliveries with the expected levels of tweak, twat and twang involved but the over-riding feeling I get is of two overly clean and pseudo-commercialised constructs that get lost in a land between that which is fodder for the masses and that which is sub-generic DIY dabbling. The coffee tabled production of both entities and the distinct lack of anything immediately inspiring is a real let down and no matter how often I play these two tracks they slip by and dissolve into the cerebral recesses of forgetfulness - bah. The closing number is entitled 'Dark Days' and if you want my personal opinion (of course you do and invoices are in the post) it goes on way to bloody long. A draining affair, a real trial of my endurance and no matter how hard I stick with it I can't hold favour. The sidling in with careful tonal atmosphere, the developing intrigue and the prickled flow of the song that eventually manifests itself after 1.37 seconds all get things off to a decent start but the players prolong the prong and add too much that doesn't really belong. I can't knock em' for enthusiasm and talent but I can knock em' for what I consider a tiring faux pas. Hey ho.
So a split verdict with the first 3 songs severely outweighing the last 3 (I do wonder if I reviewed this CD the other way round would the balance be less stark - I am always on my case). I came, I feel as though I haven't truly conquered but what I have done is given good time, fair thought and essential forthright honesty - and it ain't fuckin' easy. Not a band for me but a band for those in that distinct pool where beards, baggy arses, baseball caps and twiddling digits reside - you know what I mean and despite the textual tomfoolery I wish em' well in their endeavours!
THE SONS OF BIDO LITO - AVALANCHE
Yippee - just a two tracker to review and sent my way via Dirty Water Records - in fact double yippee! Here we have a crew from the sunny wastelands of Sunderland and a unit that bask in influences of the sixties and regenerate things with a slightly meaner, unsettling and perverse psychedelic approach. It is a strange avenue to explorer and my task is to simply expose what is in store for you the listener and to give a personal verdict and how things are viewed. I use the word 'simply' rather foolishly here and slap my wrist for under-rating an arduous, thankless task that goes on and on...and on (I would have it no other way).
Side A and 'Avalanche' - a steel wire twang, twisting with repeat beat screws. Escort comes via pecked skins, radiofied sub-cranked gobbage. Thermals rise due to a slight increase in tempo and seeming tautness. An aroma of the unhinged is at ones heels, a delectable cracked dish of jumping bean elements is ready to overspill. My maw is agape, expectation levels ascend. Semi-pastiche hints are glimpsed, patchwork potential slightly uncovered, the crux of the melodic matter seems to be in my grasp. Snaking away the full style is elusive though and as textures slightly metamorph I rely on the incessant pulse to maintain my intrigue. When the song is done I feel I have been hit by a multi-coloured express train - one that in the main is instrumentalised and of limited lyrical content. I am knocked into no man's land and I don't like it one bit. Was the song a success or a fleeting failure - I replay over and over and still am confounded - ...fuck...it!
Flip and '12 Commandments' is a crepuscular water ripple, a cool illustration of glistening tranquillity set amid a scenery of slow swaying buoyancy residing on gently lapping wavelets of confidence. The bass has Noir-esque bleakness, the drums are a stabilising semi-splash of reaffirming tenderness and the most fitting utterances are nurtured, extremely apt and in conjunction with a very relaxed theme. The sinuous shimmer of all components and the rousing flawless fluidity is totally mesmeric and wonderfully easing. Strains of outback sun stroke appear, the evening undercurrent grows with each rotation and those keyed out, tripped out zeniths that so crucially invade are just supreme emotive extras to drown in. A simply divine track and noting that the running time is at 6 minutes 36 seconds that is a real complement for a lover of short, sharp punk rock shockers.
Two songs, two verdicts - undecided and convinced. That is how the river runs at times, never a straight path but full on meandering uncertainties and unpredictable rushes and gushes. Yet again I have a band on my lap that have my nose twitching and where they go from here is somewhere I would undoubtedly be interested in.
FATSKINS - VIVA
Sent my way via Crowd Control Media this release was downloaded and met with persistent expectation levels. Oi is an austere arena that rarely steps out of certain barriers and more often than not, what I expect is what I get. I don't like this state of affairs but I do have a distinct soft spot for a bit of lowbrow streetpunk (it's in the blood tha' knows and is a thing those in the groove will understand and those on the outside will never grasp). This bunch of bangers come from Phoenix, Arizona a place that doesn’t do badly on the noise front it seems and one that appears zoned in to the purist Oi-ish thread. Well, 4 tracks to ponder here, best not fuck about too much! Just to add, as per, the review will grasp at the straws of honesty, piss on procedure and just go with a very natural flow.
First up and 'Cr-ISIS' a song that politically rages against the war mongering filth doused in the fetid fumes of religious mania that surely has addled their weak and needy brains. The immediate tones that assault the senses are dumbed down and played with safety before the vocal intensity adds a molesting spice that thermally enhances the mix. The guitars rise and cut along whilst drums stick to a tidy route as the song progresses further and relies on taut sinew and balancing lyrics that may upset some but will be met with agreement by others. No prejudice bullshit here, just straight fucked off talkin' wanting to kick back against the extremist scourge - take that how you will. Purely grimaced produce this with hearts on fire - your call dear perusers.
The Templar's cover next with 'My Revenge' a fuckin' bold and melodic beef throb of more chasing cobblestoned anger. The intense throat sears, the threatening hostility of all tonal compartments and the double ended vocal rawness combine with gratifying effect to inflame the senses of the eavesdropper and create an inner disturbance in line with the hefty produce. A stomach slamming song that, rather than being reliant on one haymaker, pummels away with sickening regularity and squeezes out your acceptance. Luckily, as a sucker for good old fashioned rucking rhythm, I give this a thumbs up sooner than later. 'Only Came Here To Fight' is a strong fucker with a real mean delivery that opens with darkened blades that deeply cut into initial flesh and lacerate ones indecisive nature. There is a strict restraint in the delivery despite the tense and aggressive underscore that incessantly bubbles and steams in equal measure. The clouds gather, there is a snatching threat throughout, a real overwhelming intensity that glows like molten larva and this is a real juddering jaunt to get down with. A lowly unstoppable force delivered with tight consistency and high pressured passion.
We close with 'Never A Victim' another cacophony kept on a low simmer with malevolence, power punching and regularised munching riffage the combination to applaud. The intrinsic elements of basic 'Oi' are maintained whilst a strict adherence to a bangle free bang out is stuck to. The crew are playing well within their own safety confines here and are slapping out generically cultured crunchers to not read too much into. Like it, lump it or indeed suck on it.
For a 4 track release this is solid stuff and only over a lengthier offering will true questions arise. I like this but would warn the band not to get stuck in one groove and try to vary all elements for future jaunts. It would be interesting to see another 4 tracker but next time with foot slammed on the accelerator for a least 3 of the songs. Challenge set!
THE BREAKDOWNS - ELECTRIC SHOCK THERAPY
The last in the trio of requested reviews from these Buckinghamshire minstrels who have their tongues in their cheeks (not each other’s I hope) and play straight forward punk in a most steady and reliable manner that keeps within those nebulous ground rules. It is a hard thing to get the balance right when receiving solid sounds that do the business but fail to break any moulds and just ping out uncomplicated noises after uncomplicated noises with no real errors of note. The lazy bastards who talk much, criticise in the background and do little are nowhere to be found when it comes to reviewing CD's and so the unenviable task, more often than not, falls into my lap - I would be an unhelpful cowardly fool not to do my bit!
The parachute of racket rips open, we float in a sky of sound to the number entitled 'Dazed And Confused'. A pronounced bout of madness and fuzzed adornments before a real rocking tympanically assisted wire waltz takes us into the mush proper with a clobbering pound about of rigid riffage that is seasoned with heavily sweated vocals. A somewhat punishing opening blast that goes for the abdomen rather than the head and so, brings down the arms of resistance, and makes its presences known. Some real noteworthy ascensions are had that perk up the receptors and have me on high alert for the coming avalanche of sounds - job done. The follow-up of 'Complete Nervous Breakdown' is apt, a quicker and terser song that zones in to the finishing line and goes for it, without distraction, without thought for changing the route. Pick up and pogo noise that is easily joined in and enjoyed. No detailed assessment needed, no ponsing around with wandering wordage - to the point, effective racketology, as is 'This Endless Road', an equally focused song with many touches to avoid going down the route of safe stagnation. Plenty of power is exuded, a regular punk tempo adopted, a fine kick back against day to day pointlessness is an area we can all relate to and for me the crew are exhibiting a concrete confidence and a new found reliability for producing healthy, unfussy pounders - I hope it continues. The pinnacle thus far is reached via the raging blaze of slam-dunk of the irritated 'Rock 'N' Roll Ain't Rock 'N' Roll Anymore', a vipers nest of ill-temper that constantly showers venom and causes an inner fire to rise and join in with. The sonic paint is slapped onto the canvas, a canvas with many boot prints and fist indentations, a canvas there for all to see and be taken aback by. The colours used are basic, the composition far from unique but it is the application that makes this creation noteworthy - definitely done from the ticker (and that always adds weight).
'Oh Yeah' is a nice tickle of pop punk, a super swift incident that is a delectable ditty to bounce around to without thought for political ponsing or over-elaborate, cloying nonsense. Strip to the waist, pour alcohol down your gullet and over your head and just fuckin' have it. A mini-marvel to smile and sup with - nowt wrong with that ya buggers. 'Blue Knights In Plastic Armour' is a pig dig that thrives with spite and goes from a deep versed meanness into a lighter chorus chunk that surprisingly has more impacting viciousness. The switch between emotional subtleties is pure and done with aplomb and convinces me further that this is the bands best bundle of sonic donations to date. The mix, the strength, the directness all dissolve any resistance one may have and if one adopts the right attitude then this is highly digestible fodder.
The nastily entitled 'Liquid Concentration Camp' offers many prospects of toxic ravings and begins with a cracked 'nah, nah' nag before unfolding into a well minced chunk of hurtful dinnage. The smooth development of the sub-chorus and chorus itself is thermally noticeable and sears the inner lug with a basic construct applied with much gusto - a very key facet to get the eavesdropper perked. A lovely song in truth appealing to the ape-man inside as does the more slightly more spacious and aerated upchuck labelled as 'Poison City Rejects'. An adornment free trundle down well worn pathways that grabs a sonic straight line and hugs it like fuckery. Coruscated guitars, lively skins, an under-rumble of heavy bass and a throat sweetly torn we have, yet again, honest racket making with an appreciation of the bare boned facets that pleases many a spiked noggin. 'Repeat Nervous Breakdown' follows on from the second song, this time with less popped tones and reliant on a wrap-around rhythm thus making it less effective. It is an average song I hear many times and is neither good, bad or indeed ugly - just a rusty twat of tuneage that is something anyone can do if they have the leaning and...bog brush ability. Having been slightly harsh though I can say it is a listenable piece and does no real harm - maybe that's a problem too (oh bugger). 'White Goods And Wedding Dresses' is a tale for the lads again, the ones who have fallen for a woman who has desires to change her prey and make them into something they are not. Thoughts of reliable sex, nights out with the boys, comfy sessions snuggled up on the couch and all manner of one way ideals are soon banished at the prospect of procedure and regularity and a slow progression into an acceptable life of suffocating suburban idiocy. The bells of matrimony seem cursed, the fear the band provoke is bared and this wary overspill of Subboid noise tickles my undercarriage and prompts a nicely inflated response. One of those themes you can relate to with a shiver in the spine.
'Living The Life' is the penultimate song, a cocky little git with a swagger in the step and a glint in the eye. It looks down upon the rock and roll wreck who lives a lie and takes the piss out of many conned believers. The drill is well oiled and the liquidity is perhaps the greatest asset despite a good stomp within the weave that would suggest a more sticky approach. A lucid look into the life of the damned and from this we go into something far more terrifying, a ruddy Christmas song - aagghh! Luckily the title suggests it won't be an over-corned celebration of the festive con which is thoroughly welcomed by me. 'Merry Christmas You Cunts' is a fouled mouth stab at the stupidity of a time when many, who have no inkling of its meaning or not one righteous bone in their body, get together and celebrate a Christian Festival in a totally traditional manner - talk about fraudulence hey? This one reminds me of another Subs tune, one we all have ingrained into our noggins with the same level of rage and disgust as well as tongue in cheek nastiness. It is one to get out when the time of tinsel and twattology comes around again, a tune to enjoy and get some reality back in the old sozzled system - no bad way to finish. If you have a rather fragile constitution then you do get a censored version which for me is even funnier - wink, wank.
The bands best offering for me, a good healthy 12 tracker that has a veritable consistency to build on and to experiment with - never rest on the laurels, always strive for more - this though is quite nifty to be going on with.
VANILLA MUFFINS - THE DRUG IS FOOTBALL
Fuckin' hell, this lot have been on the block for some time now and it seems like ages ago I heard them playing on an old Oi compilation featuring an assortment of top heavy tunes. They have a brand of terraced tuneage that is highly likeable and one that can be easily taken for what it is and joined in with. I like that and I don't mind the obsession with the great game as well as the integral items that go alongside the ethos (emphasis on beer). Self-proclaimed kings of Sugar-Oi this Switzerland borne crew know their style for sure and veer off track not one jot.
'No Punk Rock In My Car' is a delicious upbeat chirp of apolitical, unaggressive musical joy that slips along on almost halcyon pleasure borne from players who just wanna get up, have a laugh and play some crackin' tuneage without sub-sexual tossage. The urge repeat beats, the slightly textured lacquering and the easily pinged about to lilt all make this a song to just jump into line with, to forget about all the in-scene squabbling, ego's one-upmanship and other such bollocks and to just enjoy. God bless the band for tunes such as this and after all their plucking and fucking time on the rock and roll path it seems nothing changes - thank goodness in this instance. 'Brigade Loco' begins with a two-toned undulation that skates in with fluidic prosperity before slipping away and making space for a sweetly smooth verse that is spruce, shipshape and straight ahead. It segues with ease into the breeze of the chorus that is equally sugary and trim with an unflustered pick up and play approachability. The whole offering is best described as 'inoffensive' which some punk pigs may find insulting but those, who are open of mind and willing to take all flavours, will hopefully find pretty accurate and in no way upsetting. A decent ditty!
And so forth...
'All Roads Lead To Rome' opens with more positive sprightliness before heading into a somewhat planed-edged song that hits the track running but never veers outside the set perimeters and so is perhaps a little too direct and lacks some necessary frillage. The open and honest feeling to the track, the well aerated breeziness, the pleasurable sub-melody and the hint at something Sparrer-esque all will win favour but just leave me a little out of step - I shall skip on. Next up and 'Comrades', a song with a tympanic triumph in the tone and a stick beat that starts in fine style and propels this choice song along on very convincing soles that ooze a superb passion for the cause at hand and an all-devouring holistic acoustica that swarms all over our aging carcasses and gives hope of a more unified existence out there. The opening quasi-King Rocker drums, the gusto of the gushings and the overall flitting energy all get me pondering whether or not this indeed, is the best track of the lot - oh the decisions. I crack on. 'The Drug Is Football' gets kicked my way and is a fast dribbling paper cut that flashes down the flanks of your noggin, moves into the central area and slaps home a straight unwavering shot into the back of your knackered noisy net. It avoids any fancy pants skillage in the village but knows where it is heading and finishes the job with little fuss. Wham.
'The One And Only' and 'Kanenfeldpark' are pop punk episodes with lighter tones and more happy-go-lucky sensations oozing from every pore of these very likable musicians who make something so simple into something so reliable and enjoyable. Each track has a very appealing slant and smoothly sandpapered finish that refuses to go for the boot bollock aggression of many soccer based shit-outs, which of course, I like also. Two tender treats borne from committed souls and if you can relate to this good on ya and make sure you get playing before the next match to keep you well motivated.
We close with 'The Mob From Kannenfeldpark', a tuned in drift of chomping yet carefully iced cruising with cushioned verses that are well padded and without sharp edges but which lead into the firmer footings of the chorus cuts that elevate matters just enough to avoid anything too horribly contrasting and vulgar. A simple drift out that signs off a very digestible CD and one that highlights a band with a focus on what they like and an inkling to just have a good time and fuck the political bullshit and leave it to the rest. Always a pleasure!
BOB WAYNE - HITS THE HITS
From the sonic country of the outlaw where spittoons are well used, moonshine is slurped aplenty and rattlers nip the nobs of the unwary Bob Wayne delivers his soulful westernised noise with a glint in the eye, a cock in the stride and a plaster on the pecker (ooh the careless man). Having dealt with an earlier delivery by this darn tootin' dude when requested to have another dabble I thought it would be foolish not to. I expect a great deal here, there has been some hot shit talkin' going on down on the ranch and the local saloons have been aflame with tongues of praise and so, in I go, with big thoughts of a promising CD ahead. One thing to add though, all the following tracks are covers, something I am not totally in agreement with so, in advanced warning, these tunes had better be nailed good now or Fungal may be back on the well worn naughty chair (for crimes of honesty no less - ooh the bastards).
The first spit from the fangs of the artiste is had under the name of 'Rock and Roll' a song originally penned by the great (not my opinion) Led Zeppelin. This is a really chirpy delivery with Mr Wayne plucking the arse of the funky chicken, penetrating the bare clucker and vibrating the inner giblets with a cheeky thread. Initial thuds and the squeak of the organ of the gob and we are soon kept on our toes with a perky jaunt of highly countrified appeal that will see many a corn chewing cretin gyrating his pimpled arse to this upbeat tickler. A fair start but completely overshadowed by the chasing brace of covers known as 'Skyfall' originally by Adele and 'Sweet Child Of Mine' initially posted our way by Guns and Roses of course. The first of this absorbing brace is a remarkable reinvigoration of a textured song that rises highest via a smooth and somewhat emotively glorious chorus that is simple, nothing out of the ordinary but needs a careful delivery to maximise the sonic solar brilliance. The gently trotted verse here is ideal for the aforementioned chorus that duly comes and meets all expectations with ease via a sloping lilt of he/she shadowplay that certainly convinces one of an artiste very much in the zone. A zone where many will fail to tread, a zone that perhaps is not worthy of those tone deaf cunts who fail to meet many desires. The follow-up from this rigid effort is that much imitated number that, no matter where your leanings reside, is indeed worthy as the tag of 'classic'. Like it, or lump it, but it has all the ingredients for the lofted title and it is a hard task to reinvent a very smooth running wheel that I envy not one jot. Here though, Mr Wayne's true excellence as a manipulator of melody comes most blatantly to the fore with a beautifully crafted acoustic aping that is both gentle, subtly strong and comfortably liquid in its approach. Particularity regarding positioning of note and tone, a fine oral substance and just the general gist all make this a spellbinding cracker - I am bowled over.
A bunch of four next with The Stones' 'Sympathy For The Devil' a jittery bag of nervous tinkering overlain with the crooners usual recognisable slants. The redneck infusion of agitated pluckery and string sliding eagerness propels itself along with a certain leaning towards the unorthodox and with a disregard for verse/chorus routine - not a bad do though but outshone by the following sober accents of 'I Shot The Sheriff', another feather in the ever impressive cap of the player with a song risen from well stoked ashes and given an extra angle and new zested life. The main winning aspect of this cover is the smooth fluidity and fluent frictionless ease that help it glide from the disc into your sonic soul and swirl up a firm reaction. The pleading tale within the tune is well known and yet again a massive classic is given an overhaul in masterly style and the final utterances close the song with a winning exclamation mark. 'Crazy', originally by Gnarls Barkley (not Patsy Cline which is a real shame) is a very warm and well thought episode of music that still skips along but has a more contrasting zoneage that sees a serene drift from the pondered and textured to the more forthright and decisive. It is typical puke from our accomplished artiste and rather than labour many awarding scribblings I shall adopt a swift dash and leave you, hopefully, gagging for more.
The first of the chosen mad dash 5 is 'Under The Bridge' by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. This one is a real countrified affair with a quite cradle-comfort lilt that wraps up our sonic soul in snuggle safe blankets of gratifying perfection. The verse outweighs the chorus for me but both elements compliment and have their own special brand of Wayne-oid weaving. 'Radioactive', an Imagine Dragons construct, comes to the fore here with a sauntered approach, from hazy sun-kissed distances to sharp-lensed intimacy that gives the listener a very tangible account and an instantaneous appreciation. The opening wander is charming and for me surpasses the scuttled chase that is a little too much like much of what has transpired. A personal thing and I'd be a darn foolish fart to pass negative wind over this very embracing effort. Bob Wayne is steeped in quality and this delightful ditty rubber stamps this thought - think on! Next and 'Come Together' by The Fab Four gets the treatment and is a hip number trundling on well worn tracks and easing up when necessary and grabbing extra fruitful fuel when needed. The rather fixed declarations of the verse are opposed by the short waltzes of the simplistic chorus that as a sneaky double entendre that maybe the construct of my warped imagination. An unchallenging track, an easy as tha' goes offering that has much credible validity. The fourth before the fifth of the fast flyers is 'Disturbia', a Rhianna based trinket coughed back from a darkened precipice from which you may wish to fall into a rhythmic realm of very upright acoustica. The initial tones soon give way to a ready ruffle that excites before a switch back to thoughtfulness is had immediately followed by a fiddled whip up. The mix continues and those marvellous plucks keep the levels involving. The best of this brief batch comes via a version of The Offsprings 'The Kids Aren't Alright', a superb bounce of the original classic that had much critical acclaim and revitalising substance thus igniting much US interest from this side of the polluted waters. Wayne runs with the vital spirit of the song, exudes his own fascination and favour for the number and just, quite simply it seems (but it isn't) adds his personal countrified touch. Crackin'!
'All About That Bass' is a curio to consider and one that will split the listener’s verdict. For me it has a short-lived oddness that at first tickles, then teases and ultimately gets on ones titties. Calypsoed in part, sun-kissed throughout and with a fun-filled corn slap this seems similar to produce thrown out by a B-class children's entertainer trying his best to salvage a downhill career. The chorus is a minimalistic bastardised Black Lace victim and no matter how much I try to relax, get in the swing I just find myself cold and shuddering - bah. There's always one isn't there? Thankfully we close with a real peach and after the last call to hop on board for the last train to 'Crazy Town', we do just that, take our seat and are left to listen to the musings of a passenger who seems to be unable to make no head nor tail of this insane existence. Ozzy's original is done justice with the sobering assessment of the world and the people in it completed in exacting style. The scars of experience run deep, the inescapable void of madness is always there but the one thing we have as defence is hope, and that element alone shines through this stark reality riddled song - a quite lovely moment.
Bob Wayne is good. In fact he is bloody downright annoyingly good and for a twat that ruddy well hates country bumpkin tuneage and cover versions that is saying a whole lot. I still maintain he should stick to his own stuff but I have to admit, this is impressive shit - bugger it!
ARCHIE AND THE BUNKERS - SELF-TITLED
Teenage bros here whom hail from Ohio, Cleveland and bring to the table an appetising mix of synthoid searings and garaged grime. The rhythm they pour out from the wank wired organ and the 4 piece drum kit is not to be sniffed at and after many rotations on the battered and well bruised turn table I am finding some highly gratifying music to gyrate my mental hips to and wobble my cerebral todge with. Unsurprisingly it is offering more punk accents than something labelled as more 'punk' - a common occurrence these days which makes one seethe, spit and paradoxically celebrate all in one confused mess. I fuckin' speed on, tweak out the text and uphold the avoidance of butt-kissing fraudulence - twang.
Track one, 'Sally Lou', a keyed smear across vaulted catacombs of tucked away intrigue where accursed wretches ply their devious tonal trade. In one corner our brace of players eke out a haunted charnel house escapade of swirling cinematic uncertainty splashed over with entrancing expansions of acoustic experimentation. Somewhere in the midst comes a confounded tattoo of nagging necessity that creeps beneath the epidermal layers and seduces - I should be wary, and in some respect I am but the encroaching disease that is being delivered my way...absorbs. Track 2, and the unconventional artistry known as 'I'm Not Sure What I'm Gonna Do'. A real thriving living entity awash with copulating hues of acidic glory all contributing to and end animated puke that is forever mobile and worthy of attention. Fast paced, glaringly ambitious but always on a surreptitious leash this follow-up to the opening gambit offers new sensations and opens many gateways of promise to the album proper. Those keys grind to the core, the partially aloof throat offerings add a chilliness, the drums merely encourage matters and this is a veritable number to get utterly lost in. A labyrinth of gorgeous musical passageways that convolute and pollute in equal measure!
A deliberate two fisted, firm wristed drive next with 'You're The Victim' a spellbinding symphony of keys and gob making a most fascinating moment in the world of the Bunker Bastard din creating. The firm undulated, deeply plaited tonality and almost reluctantly forced mouth work is riddled with sub-corruption and backstreet sinisterism where stark acceptance and vivid mental uncertainty combine to make an injurious cranial complication second to...none. A genuinely magnificent moment of middling tempo that spellbinds and sucks out the very lifeblood of the listener - magnifique! 'Miss Taylor' is a carousel gone wrong with an initial persistent stray to things best left hidden before a breakthrough is had into pastures fluid and swirling majesty that undoubtedly conflicts, compliments and confounds. This two-piece are a very exciting unit indeed and the retroed, ripped up and deliciously semi-ramshackle is a delight to my wracked lugholes. I find that the duo are appealing to my more primitive instincts whilst rousing something of the inner primeval animal and I don't mind that at all - this subcultural melange of abstracted and sublimely exacted opposition is a thorough joy thus far and long may it continue.
I run headlong, in the hope of busting open my skull completely, into another wall of sound, this time scratched down as 'I Wish I Could', an execution that gallops in on a equine cunt loaded with pre-tension chomping and suggestive hunger. A keyed wander comes before the demons are released and the shower of inner shit that spills is dazzingly spiked and unmolested by affect. The lunacy levels are grabbed and held in check, the saturation factor still cerebrally injurious and so, like a stupid son of a sonic bitch, I remain glued to the speakers and wank. 'The Last Stooge' and the scarring vulgarity of punked pessimism and 60's flamboyance come to the fore after a terse encounter with sombre, ominous drawn out pulses that in no way give hint at any of the dynamoed verses and cruelly collapsing chorus creations. The imbalance is precise, the danger safe and if those two oxymoron’s aren't enough well let me tell you that the high hygienic edge is nicely unwashed - splat!
'Lady In RKO' comes on tootsies of masturbated gold, surfed up tympanics and epileptic keys. The arousing effluence that spurts from a firm trembler of tuneage vibrates with sanguinity and a resounding demand on your attention. From the tumbling delivery of the opening sequence we are dragged along through a buttery hotch-potch of jangle jittery compression that glides smooth but always has moments of danger. The mix is precise and although frayed at the edges it is a sonic garment worth adorning yourself in - no matter how spunk stained it be. Next and 'Knifuli knifula' is a disfigured waltz that plods through treacled shit, swirls in circles cellophane wrapped suffocation and grimaces with a lung-clogging intensity. The grind is pulsing but the lifeblood thickens all the while - I find this an indigestible piece and is the first major loose ringed fart to pass my way. A shame as I do like to praise rather than piss on but as always, honesty must prevail or everything ain't worth a jot. So, this one gets a thumbs down, a kick up the arse and a shake of the head - it is how things are.
Onto 'Different Track' and a lively splatter of sticks interspersed with the organ'ised' fruitiness that escalates into a right old excitable foam over of encouraging aurality. The vocal chords are wobbled and left to blend into silence whilst the backdrop persist in sub-jollified japes. A scuffling song that sways and swings with many jaunty juices. 3 left, I am going dash for the final tape, head down, aural legs going like the clappers - zooooom! 'Austria' next and anxious beans are jerkily spilled from a torn bag of rumpled spasmoidica. An erratic mess in part with beautiful ball scratching character that irons itself out, has a pseudo-face life and gets itself sorted in time below the 2 minute mark - a nice awkward moment with several essences to inhale. 'Trade Winds' is an accursed wretch, squeezed out from an horror-struck anus that, it seems, really doesn't want to let go. The rise is fury at the rectal reluctance final forces a give way to an expulsion that is haunted and somehow attractively corrupted. Like a freshly bleached shitbowl spattered with the digested remains of a multi-coloured curry this is a garish glimpse into things foul but so necessary. When the band blow things out and jar the angles things do excite no matter how perverse you may deem that to be. The 'fuck off' comes via 'Joanie', a creeping cool cat with a skinky dink underscore and shady overtone that sees hands go under the table and dabble with the privates and hands go over the table and weave acid blurs in cannabinoid haziness. A shadowy character not to be trusted but a fine escort to take you to further perilous areas and leave you wondering 'what next'.
I'm outta here, delighted in the main at having found a quirky curio of a unit that causes me much satisfaction. Out of many fishbowls come many droplets of rank liquid sound and here is such an example of something to be happily soaked by. Covering great generic ground, having enough nouse to remain unstable yet rhythmic and that my twat of toneage is darn fine by me.
THE BONES - FLASH THE LEATHER
The Bones come at ya with their 6th album release and continue to play it dirty, mean and purely rock and roll injected. Sweden's thirsty rockers are on a roll, a roll that started back in 1993 and seems to have found a new impetus that has culminated in the release of this 17 track album. By heck, 17 tracks, I better get my noggin down and get digging the grooves.
First up and 'El Intro' is indeed the intro, a westernised theme here etched with a slight alienised tone that just adds an extra touch of the curio, Leone-esque hollers come and then the finalising crack of the whip - in we go. 'The Compadres' opens with pronounced guitars before riff skidding in exquisite fashion and really getting under the primitive rock collar and insisting the body reacts to the relish, urgency and snatching rhythm. The throat has large desires, the tight thrust of musicianship absorbs and the jump into the fray will be immediate with the excellent opening throat cutter. Moments are had to expose the flamboyance of course but the track keeps on the rails and reaches its destination with all flags flying. A hefty start, setting the standard very high and one that essentially needs to be followed by an equally blinding number. Enter 'Chainsaw', a buzzing shitter that has a free-wheeling looseness in the delivery with an easy low slung naturalness that pours in relentless fashion with all donators in exact unison. The persistence grabs, the 70's rock and roll sling back, the suggestion of something sub-sleazed and hip-grindingly alert all bores to the very musical nucleus of the listener and induces one to become tonally transfixed and riff struck - tis a great feeling for sure!
'Die Wilden Jahre' is the third treat for our eager ear-holes and this times comes with a semi-anthemic, homage paying slant with grandiose opening bars leading the way for a swift scuttled verse that neatly leads into a proud and passionate chorus chunk awash with high harmonised shout outs and competing and complimenting thriving tonsil work. The boundless animation and piquant essence that rises from this steaming chunk of sonica is gratifying in the extreme and has many distinct Euro-resonations to immediately embrace. The next in line for some Fungal scrutiny is the toothsome march of 'This Dance', yet again a nectarous treat for buzzing bees of noise that are happy to lap up the varied flavours gifted from the garden of cacophony. This time we get a slower approach which oozes a supreme sanguinity and self assured approach that somehow full stops the glorious opening quartet. It is always odd how, whenever a band who are thriving adopt a slower more regimented pace, the confidence level is increased. Such is the case here with nothing flash, nothing dramatic needed and just a focused march to the final strum necessary to ascertain the crews unquestioning belief and overall acoustic accuracy. Chunky stuff!
'Non Grata Stigmata' has metallic spices that lead me, quite unexpectedly, up a new pathway which I don't mind at all. This deep knife wound that gratifying bleeds much intoxicating lifeblood has essences of late 70's/early 80's washed hair rockism with extra sub-punk slightly intoxicating the blend. The scooting drive, the well-balanced finish and the couldn't give a fuck fly through, entwine, copulate and produce one helluva rhythmic runt to ride all the way to Hades. A swift execution very much welcomed and shadowed by 'Bigger Than Jesus' a song that is really a texturised pleasure that has a layered depth throughout the versed excellence and a thoroughly disbelieving slant to the ideally spilled out lyrics. Griddled to perfection with much juice flowing and reminiscences of an al dente firmness that gives the whole gobful of tuneage that important spice known as longevity. The chop up segments are as easily digested as are the free flowing soup sections and I fuck off from this one still ingratiated to a band that grows and grows!
'Ms Mortuary' is a tickling tune filled with cryptoid bone rattling psychobilly wordage sprung into action by high flown fruited discordance that foams with tight-assed rhythm and consistently effective ease. One of the more immediately impressing tracks that, unlike the rest, loses some of the initial impact with each spin. A pop cutlet with a darkened edge that is used to carve its way into your initial epidermal layers of attention. No bad thing but the wounds will heal and this will become the mere fun filled triviality in the pack methinks. Not bad though but the far more pronounced and billowed slog of 'A. L. F.' is more to my liking and strikes me as a song that will have much longevity and force its way between your butt cheeks of resistance and make a penetrating affect to keep thee on good 'sonic cum shitter' stead. A tight ground down number that knucklescrews with direction and defiant grit that tilts the disc at another angle and keeps one uncertain as to what the crew will offer up next. One thing that can be relied on though is that the produce will be well cultivated, played with spice and done with an utterly professional accent. Talking of which...
'New Hooligans' does the business this time zipping things up and signifying how tight the band are when pace is injected. There is an emergency feel to this stylish number that still retains a certain earthiness and unaffected honesty. The enthused back hollers compliment the lead mouth ideally and the whole cohesive coursing that remains throughout make this a very vitality laden number. 'C'mon, C'mon' further inspires the urges with another step sideways into middle paced gunk of highly adhesive consistency. The acoustic belt is buckled, no room here for noisy unnecessary flesh, all is tucked in and kept trim with a noticeable grimace that strains out nothing only the most perspired. I am getting reminiscences once more of many 'over the water' Oi bands as well something discordantly disparate that goes against the flow somewhat but is a crucial ingredient nonetheless. If I could place my finger on this ambiguous element I would have the song well and truly cracked - oh bugger it.
4 quick flicks of the reviewing wrist. 'Bustin' My Balls' is a tight spiral of piercing string work and slap-happy skin labour. The teeth are clenched, the muscles taut and these rhythmic resistances drop into the set march and are worthy of their place. 'In Rust We Trust' ups the appetite, raises the flames and thrusts with latent aplomb that helps showcase the artistry of a very well-oiled machine. Again the theme set is adhered to with life still running through the veins of this CD even though we are 13 tracks in. The only sub-flub in the whole produce is that this could easily have been two releases instead of one which would surely have zoned in the listeners attention to each and every track with greater force. 17 tracks is one helluva bout to get through and perhaps it is my punked streak that prefers the shorter assaults over the more lengthy. As per, just a personal thought but I am writing the review so apologies are zero. Next and 'Salute The Remote' a deliciously clomping cutlet that bounds on gleeful tones and dishes out a repeat slap of edacious desire. A feelgood act of marauding pleasure that has no critical points to molest with uncharming negativity - very kind of em'. The fast four is twatted to a finale with the controlled savagery of 'Violent Hostility' splatter-punking the soundboards in an assortment of galloping shades that run wild, run free but never run off the edge of the canvas. A rawness to the verses is had with the chorus cuts outshining the musical comrades and added more attractive lacquer to the final finish. A good end picture is had with the artistes walking away with all glory theirs!
So all done, (unless of course you get the limited edition digipack with 2 free songs) and for me a very accomplished CD from a band well-versed, well practiced and comfortable in their own groove. 17 tracks is a long haul but at the same time value for money so the advice is to invest and play at thy appropriate leisure - bet ya ain't disappointed.
LOS BRIGANDS - NOTHING'S CLEAN
Gardena is a city located in the South Bay (south western) region of Los Angeles County, California, United States and is where this bunch of talented fuckers scream and shout from. The crew have been in action for approximately 6 years and the sounds they radiate are unapologetically riddled with obvious influences - but who fuckin' cares as long as it’s bang on the mark. This is a long CD, it has taken a chunk of my time (like they all do) and this is what I darn well think.
I dip my assessing dick in the orifice of silence and await the first anticipated vibrations - oh such is the curse of the punk rock pervert! The instrumental void called 'The Hater's Circle' gushes over my noggin with much ado about something and is a real hard-boned psychobillified somersault of sub-catacombed going's-on that exude threat, malevolence and underhand culture strokes. From the cavernous depths where the dead are roused we get shaken up, knocked into line and given a nice tickle up the rear so as to get us prepared for the rock and roll rip-up heading our way - this is a perfect platform on which to build. '8.50' consumes the space between tracks and moves in with equally rapid rolls, this time with a typical spiked onslaught completed in double quick time. A cacophonic contamination quickly spilling guts and hybridising to meet the needs of the players and those who like UK/US combinations that thrust with penetrating incessancy. This song is assisted, and thus accentuated, by the fine example of semi-crusted skankoid schizzle known as '10 Times Worse, a song that blooms from the previous belligerent bark and creates a delicately designed outgrowth to admire. Light upstrokes, skipped skins and a rotund 4 wired support all work with unity whilst the salivated sprays of vocalisation bounce over the surface. A Rancid-esque tilt of the tones which will, unsurprisingly, please the many. Hats off, the band do this one very well indeed.
'Robbie' is a blatant rip-off of a well known rock and roll formulation that has done many rounds, has had a fair battering and now, gets kicked about all over again. A flash jack funky Berryfied zoom along with a snatching gusto that draws you in and billows your balls off. The relish in the rhythm and the throwback lustiness of all areas that shook the world are there to be had and my advice to anyone in the local listening vicinity is to shut the fuck up and just 'have it'....so I will. 'Algun Dia' marches up the hill, achieves loftiness through nothing more than bass rumbled consistency and a thirst for the job at hand. The European flavours that drip forth and the tumbling edge will attract fans from other sub-pits with something here slightly reminiscent of footified Oi. 'Cold Cold City' pursues and is a harder track with souped up skank slapped about by insouciant excellence that has a tidy dependability and a gently diverse discordance that switches from the hard punctured to the well whipped. As is the case in many instances when the band put their feet to the floor the magnetic powers increase. This one completes a quite varied hat-trick.
Next and 'Dead American Dream' is an irritated episode with strong harmonised holler-outs erupting from beneath the rippling upper epidermal layers that are sincerely alive with scuzzy maggots of malevolence and spit back attitude. The seared underscore and the rushing semi-rapidity work together and thrive amid a toxic mix of noise that continues the consistency and keeps you on the edge of your seat. If I was looking for originality or something mind-blowingly exhausting then I could criticise but it would be the criticism of a fool on the prowl for something that barely exists. No, this is decent fodder for dogs like me and on I go with pointless expectations. 'On The Wall' rattlesnakes before magnetically upping the acoustic ante with a sweet tinkle that paves the way for some slightly crustoid hanky skanky sizzle. The double pulse repetition of the guitar is backed by a dirty bass rumble and some fluttery feather sticks that indicate a very 'traditionally genuine' style with stress on several sub-genres and their often complimentary connections. A construct I have heard a million times before but that should not detract from a decent account of sing-a-long fodder. 'Downtown Nights' and 'Fight Fire With Fire' are more in your face numbers with a fist-throwing edginess and all round scuzz-fuck it sensations aplenty amid two tumultuous episodes laden with self-inflicted scars, fractures and tattoos of restlessness. The bottles of gumption have split, the vizz and vavoom fluids are leaking and here those that have partaken of a drop or two are exhibits of what it can create - get off your fuckin' arse.
'Broke' gently strokes in before pepping up on devouring tones that upstroke with unstoppable thirst and vigorous disgruntlement. The mouth work harshly salivates, the included harmonised gob offs and just the general raged casualness combine to make another terse treat to tumble to. 'First 48' has a meaner guitar indigestion that pounds in, levels out and then just lays perfect foundations for a cruising verse section that oozes professionalism (such a nasty word, please forgive me). Something so advanced about this fluid moment emanates an aroma from a band who have so much more in the tank it seems and given the varied vibrations on show thus far this inkling seems to be just about on the well kicked ball. The bonus for the listener is that all tracks are kept tidily short and so have you reaching almost instantaneously for that crucial 'replay' button. 'Bumming Cigs' has a rosy rhythm that blooms much cheeriness and promise but the oral overspill counterpunches and hits back with nicotine stained hues and unsettled belly-aching restlessness. This balanced imbalance captures elusive degrees of success and neatly throws them in our mugs with much believability. Uncomfortable bed-partners occasional make for the ripest listening experiences - this may be in that kind of category!
Last 3, a scoot to the tape, 'Denver Ave' continues the weaving skankiness found in many areas thus far. Here the bass and guitar have intimate relations whilst tympanics voyeuristically shadow. A four coun, a seared throat surge and a rise to a harsher push that sees the gas turned up and all foolish eavesdroppers getting singed. A repeat of the contrast, an upkeep of the excellence and...done. Chuggery bassism bubbles before tumultuous rapids are bounded over and snotted puke ups are donated our way (how kind). 'Bad Vibes' is a cranked up, delightfully mis-firing engine of upset with the crew pounding hard and in need of hitting the brakes in double quick time. Rattle, ram, release and the end comes in fine time and leaves a need for more, quite ideal. The fuck off final fling comes via the appropriately entitled 'Last One', a sublimely unwashed and crucially abrasive offering. The components clash and compliment, have venom and contribute to a concrete closure to punctuate a very convincing CD. No complaints and the individual muso-exhibitions are droplets of icing on a very hard baked cake.
The Los Brigands have muscle, they certainly punch their weight and if they continue with this consistency there are many rungs on the ladder to ascend and perhaps snap on the way up - oh aye lad, keep it awkward.
MAKE YOUR MARK - WHAT WE BELIEVE
Make Your Mark are a hard-hitting street band with a compressed unapologetic sound that has a trifle more in the tank than many bands in the same sub-generic theatre. The bands interests, as listed on Facebook are Skinhead, Punk, Mod, Scooters, Vintage motorcycle which may explain, in some ambiguous way, the slightly greater depth and variation to the cobblestoned upchucks. Harking from Des Moines, Iowa the band have all the traditional element needed for this type of noise and when combined with their own forthright way it does make for a very obvious and unoriginal experience that appeals to the inner punk pig - and there ain't nowt wrong with that!
First up and 'What We Believe' sidles up, takes stock of the situation and persuades with a careful stick and bass pattern before the guitar twinges and a sub-riff hangs back in the shadows. Progress is eventually made as the sonic stage is set and a ploughing flurry of all areas ensues - all hands to the wreck. The advance of the song emits a sinewy sensation with a gutsy inner flame that will not be easily doused. The crammed sonica and earthy slant to the sludgery make for a mouthful of musical mush that needs a fair amount of masticating treatment before conjuring up a full on verdict. I repetitively chomp and spit out a globule of 'positive' - splat.
'10 Years' creeps in, blusters and flusters with rooted accuracy before seeking out appreciative substrate that will feed the obvious confidence levels on show. The sound is straight ahead and is a compacted mush of granulated components all colliding together in what little space they have. The production is sound although something inside feels that we are not getting the best out of the band here, what the fuck, I hate those nebulous niggles but will bear it in mind as we travel forth. 'New Radio' conjures up the same sonic sensations and has me scratching my bonse in discombobulation. The fiery 100mph blister-inducing methodology is fine, the uniformed tightness of the group as a whole quite mesmerising and the overall gut feeling is one of appreciation but, and a miniscule almost unimportant but, I feel that the end mix as a certain arid, dried out ambience that pervades the positivity and mars the final obliging varnish - bastard.
I slip through the barbs of negativity and try to adopt an easier, more fruitful passage through the review (with honesty still clutched tightly), not fuckin' easy...
'False Pride' - bass, slight skin, a similar guitar twinge and then - tumble tempo injected with typical grabbing alertness. The chorus is terraced and chanted with a staggered approach that will have those hob-nailed 'erberts singing along with. The blend of the belted and the more slightly braised works and I move on with hope. The shorter and, as a result, more effective 'Where's The Youth' is the best yet, it releases a greater acuteness of ill temper and rally call robustness in superb double quick time with all coruscated components well scummed. The band make more of an impression when dashing by with all balls bared - take note chaps. Next and 'The Game' pulses, lays sinewed foundations before, once more, scuttling along in the adopted fashion. Switched dual gobs rise and indulge in one to one combat through the verses whilst the chorus comes and leaves a feeling of being too blended into the overall mould rather than being raised upward and creating an explosive elevated moment to ignite the track proper. Efficiency, cohesiveness and positioned rawness are all prevalent factors but, I am just a little outside the appreciative circle and would feel fraudulent to give an all out gushing. I hope you are catching my drifts of hesitancy.
4 slick quick flicks with 'Franciscan' a sweetly textured offering that sees gas flowed in moderation, the steering wheel held with more care and the end drive through highly accurate. Flames of more mainstream music tickle the underbelly and, quite shockingly, the result helps all quarters concerned (I hang my head in shame). Onto 'Working Class', a finely formulated effort that carefully abrades and maintains a decent thermality that neither gets too how or blows too cold - it is a flat flamed occurrence in the middle of a levelled CD and so doesn't stand out or sink inwards which of course makes this one neither a hit or a shit - on I go! 'No Relief' suffers the same fate has its predecessor but when played in a standalone situation proves to have its very own character and value. A suggestion that arises from this is that you do the same with all tracks and watch how your judgement into a very different creature of positivity. This one has a strong backbone reinforced by classy muscularity and cute cartilaginous chordage that really does cut through to the core of the listener and creates a sub-foot tap and worthwhile pound out. Rhythm and weight combine and cultivate perhaps the best growth from this decently pack CD that just needs a spot of extra fertiliser here and there. 'Sequel To Life' and another businesslike burst of belligerence with much ball-biting quintessence found in the very cacophonic kernel of effect. The fuel tank is still loaded, the drivers attention to detail exact and the thrust of pace consistent. Again I judge as a stand-alone and feel a greater level of gratification radiating from the crux of the melodic material and wonder if indeed this CD is getting better the further it travels - things are never easy for a fuckin' reviewer!
The last 2 with 'Turn It Up' being a purist short clout of embracing terrace shouting and '25 Pounds Of Beer' being a more sizzled affair grimly squeezing itself dry and perspiring great buckets of blood. The first is a more tuneful effort, the second a fast final fist fuck in your ugly shit mug - think yourselves lucky.
So, being a neutralised nob rot and striving to maintain a purified fairness I shall cast verdict on this very bold CD. I like it but I like it not, it has its good points but it has too much similarity and not enough assistance from the production room. These are personal thoughts but I am convinced there is more to come and I hope it isn't the first time a band go away and say 'we shall show that bastard' and up there game another notch - it is all a reviewer can do. This is decent enough but not one to stand out and play over and over again. A trifle harsh I hear you holler, I care not, it is my opinion and I want the band to push harder and squeeze their knackers dry.