FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 27
ASHLEY REAKES - GROWTH SPURTS
The man at the helm of this latest CD review is a true talent with an ear tuned in to that which isn't filed away as the norm. Experimental and temperamental and throbbing with angularity that some may find obscene and abhorrent, others may well find wholly stimulating and provoking. The descriptive tag on his Bandcamp site slaps him down as a 'genre hopping musician and collage artist' - this is a very appealing hint at what one may expect or, more accurately, not expect! I enter this one hoping for a repeat performance of his last effort which was so outstanding I gave it the award of Album of the Year on my DIY site, it was the least I could do! So what do we have on our mitts this time, well since you have asked...
'Divorced From The Body' is a voodoo birthing situation that sees a foul creature squeezed forth from a pain wracked womb, down the inner workings, slipping along the cervix whilst digging refusing nails deep into inner tender flesh before bursting from the vagina in a writhing, spluttering heap. The initial pain bearing moment aches for an epidural anaesthesia, so as to relieve the tortuous torment. Instead we get the dronings of a coven, wired stroked serenades and essences of suggested evil followed by a fine chant out. The bass fumbles in the rear, a dream sequence comes - the moon ascends and descends, what will come next is anyone's guess? 'Full On George (featuring Margo Guryan)' is baby time lullaby, with the cradle kissed by soothing tones and a jazz infection spooned out with experimental/sub-jam flavour, spiced up (or maybe shat upon) by some Cleo Laine-like idiocy only those ardent members of the ad-hoc pit will appreciate. Jazz is my least favourite schizzle, I am leaning backwards and reaching over my arse to scrabble some form of decency in my scribblings. All I can say is that it is well-played, runs with flavours swirling but I'll hold my hands up - I am not keen and feel outside the box - gotta be honest rather than a twat trying to be clever.
On in to track 3, 'Metal Fang' for me a real irritating tit wank of a number that really gets on my withering privates and causes them to fully retract in abhorrence. Ok, perhaps I playfully exaggerate but in truth I really don't like this offering that hesitantly blows inwards, has no self confidence it seems and is joined by an equally nervous bunch of winded wankery that throws me into realms of disturbing discombobulation. More jizzed than jazzed , more jangling than jaunty - sorry Mr Reakes you have me beaten here. 'Without Anaesthesia' is a better serving, it manoeuvres inward on jumping bean expressions before brass crooning and shadow-uttering with effect on disturbia. The angles this time are somewhat sanded down so as not to cut through the delicate skin of the unwary, the she-tones dilute danger further and I approach and digest with greater ease. Souls are bared, a liberated flamboyance hinted at, an advanced state of affairs is the case again but this time I am rather taken - ooh it must be the pills.
Pauses, ponderings, pootlings with the privates - this is a CD not to be rushed.
'The Gentle Art Of Ignoring (featuring Sylvia Hill)' is anarchic poetry, off the cuff wordplay that I have heard before from underground elements that spill whatever the mind feels like spilling and in some ways reminiscent of a William Burrough's cum political pervert on amphetamines. It is a very ad hoc number, one of those that needs listening to when the mind is focused and ready to build upon the suggestive imagery and defying hints. Serpentine jazz chases, extends matters and the song progresses into its own oblivion - and then into a gastropods realm, namely 'Slugs And Snails Forever'. A shuffling number on a bed of curious gunk that somehow advances the construct but still makes it a very adhesive and advancing effort. You have to have your musical shell in just the right position to fully appreciate the dabblings here as this minstrel is almost musically metamorphing before our very attentive lugs. The harmonies are light, almost transient in a spectral kind of way and come and go and leave an after vision that is far from offensive. The following spoken poetry is wonderfully observant and takes in all the minor elements of day to day life which make up the rich tapestry we are very much woven in to. 'Candy Foam Bananas (featuring Kevin Boniface)' is a terse delight and the only frustration is that our artiste doesn't prolong matters and ponder trivialities further - bah. The chaser 'Talk About Lucky (featuring Mike Watts)' weaves forth, is initially an instrumental structure with rising hope, a hope that comes to fruition via the mitts of a git who goes out, gets what he wants regardless and has no gratitude it seems - ooh the cunt! The music and the lyrics seem out of sync as the melody wanders and creates optimism and culture whilst the wordage is borne of the crude, hopeless and ignorant and creates despair - a very odd moment indeed.
'The King Blows His Horn (featuring Dave Formula)' is a coffee cup jazz swirl with sax and sex a dreamscape delicacy invaded by fuck suck reality that is again, startlingly sobering and poetically pornographic. Love is thrown aside, cold calculated corruption of innocence and sac-relief lust is the name of the game and all those feeling sweet, in love and squishy get a slap across the face with this homo-sub-erotic wake up call. A conniving cunt of testing noise that, somehow appeals and does the business. Arty farty some may label it, curious and seeking is my tagging!
Last of the lot 'I Want To Live In Morphine' is a floating trip along rivers banks of thoughtful yearning that want to escape pain, achieve full on liberation from the eternal aches that strike the frame, the heart, the soul. The fish tank bubble and watery feel to the construct borders on abstraction, dabbles with the chance of producing chicanery and so leading the listener astray. It is a less convoluted piece than what has passed, it is, in many respects, a simple creation but it finalises the CD in most apposite terms.
Done, over and out and filled with an overspill of feelings as to how I actually judge the end result. It is what it is and is of such a varied generic format that it will get people split many ways and coming in from all different tangents. For me, well some I like, some I loathe, one or two moments I love - I reckon many will agree with this verdict but will, at the same time, disagree on my individual choice - and that is...success.
YEAR OF BIRDS - WHITE DEATH TO POWER ALAN
Another acute angle gets dealt with in the ever-increasing Fungal assessment adventure that goes uphill, downhill, sideways and, as stated, at all sorts of angles. Year of Birds are lo-fi at the core, have many releases to be responsible for, have this latest release on Oddbox Records, are currently operating as a 3-piece and, oops nearly forgot, hail from the murky depths of Middlesbrough. I have plenty to handle here, my overloaded mitts need to juggle, this is what mess I make as I drop my thoughts this way and that!
We begin with 'Benefits Mix', a gloop ridden rhythm advances with straining muscularity and forces its way to the centre of our attention with perspired effort. Within the mucilaginous melody that wraps around itself in repeated fashion come somewhat frigid gob tones that have a combination of aloofness and detachment. The aftermath we are left to examine is a strange beast, one that clambers with grunged appeal and also brings suggestions of early NY experimentation when punk was first finding its musical feet. The final sonic soup has flavour, is a middling starter and perhaps is just whetting the appetite for something far more digestible. The follow up to the opening dish is a crummy slap down known as 'Brick By Brick', a brisk aperitif that crumples the chassis of production, injects with a rust-filled oil and drives the ramshackle rhythm to a terminus that is as tonally corrupt as the starting point. A rough journey this one, one that is quite jarring and I suggest you put on your safety belts just to be on the safe side. 'Cower In The Clover' is a more settled song and, as a result, more rewarding. Borne, it seems, from old style urbanised areas where the surrounded machinations functioned and gave out cloying toxins and labouring tones this ground out tune is a curio to dwell upon and chew over as pert of several acoustic 'mixed-bag' sessions. As a dabbler in many tones I am finding perverse gratification here and it is one of those moments that leaves me unable to explain why? Sometimes though it is just as well that one stays schtum!
Next up and 'Cubists' an angled and clanking robot that moves with Frankensteinian awkwardness suffering, it appears, from a discomforting disability. Plod, plod, plod - the progress is deliberate, discouraging and far from liquid. A water-torture repeat drop that pecks the head and sends one into realms of ennui. I have stuck with it, played over and I still don't like it - too odd for its own good I think. 'Damp Punts' ups the pace and moves with a reckless throwback attitude, a shoddy rock and roll methodology that works magic and will hit the reactors of those that like their dinnage served up without thought of presentation. Just slapped out as natural as can be and see what comes - sometimes, as proven here, it is the best and only way. Brief, happening and cruddy - nice! 'Deep Spring Bud' is generated for the dirtiest dive, is detached from decency and moves in the lowest leagues of oceanic liquid where barely any other life-forms exist and the acoustics are blunted and blanketed. The sunken dross that clouds the output is swam through with steely, pertinacious strokes and the filthy palls that appear will choke some, blind others and please the few who like to wallow. I think the song has merit, is a certain blow-out that may have better effect in the flesh - I may have to chase this lot down!
'Electrons' is a troubled piece of trash, winding up itself via spew soaked samplings that are regurgitated down a U-bend of disgust. The thread is instantaneously grabbed, the band do not let go and stride through many motions (literally) to get the final tonal turd slapped at our feet. My thoughts are obvious and this is another filthy exposure that will raise some hooters and turn some right off. I sniff with idiot interest! 'Fat' is a shadow suggestion creep out that double talks over itself and creates a confusing mix of wordage that confounds the mind. It is a horrible moment, one that induces a cerebral torment borne of spectral doppelgangers who have a spiteful agenda - nasty. 'Medical Model' is uphill treacle swimming with both arms tied behind the back and the head filled with opium fumes. One dragging struggle that makes success a hard thing to come by. The movement is sluggish, the drawl dreary and perhaps decadent and the guitar drones almost cramping and somewhat malevolent. A perverse streak within understands, a more sobered side wonders what the fuck! If one is outside the box many problems surface but objectivity and honesty must dictate and I nail this a trying piece.
The final stretch sees 7 hurdles to bound over. I hitch up my jodhpurs, brandish the whip and tan the arse of the assessing nag and make good haste. 'Middle Englander' twangs to good effect with a constant undulation of quirky wires and a back rumble of skins that adds a juxtaposition of jilted tonality. A provoking piece that re-awakens any lagging senses. 'Palm Sunday' rotates on a snatching up that doesn't allow any free-wheeling liberation and let loose application. Besides this though the combination of experimental nuances and atmospheric suggestion helps this mechanical song make progress into the perhaps, resistant cranium. Next and the short fuck push of 'Peace Listener', a robust billow that is tossed on a stormy sea of sound that forever rolls from the first to the last and only lets up slightly just to gain extra heave ho. The waves merge into one another and make for a incessant mass movement that does have weight to be wary of. My advice is to don your trunks and take a dip - make sure you come up for a good gulp of air between spins though as too much submersed attention will lead to a disagreeable blackout.
Onto 'Plaster Disaster', a wrap-around effort on a loop to oblivion but with an elongated melody I am happy to lie down within and get dragged along by. Very easy fodder to digest although you wouldn't want to ingest too often. Like a thick melted jelly this one, it seems, is liable to set at any time and cause a blockage but, until it does just enjoy and take care (what the fuck am I saying). 'Readers Digest' is one of the best tracks from this overly long product. It stands out due to its unbound delivery, its increased heart rate and the almost chaotic abandon that sees all players just keep on the right side of acceptability. The short running time, as is the norm with much music, enhances the impact factor and leaves one just a trifle unfulfilled, which is never a bad thing! From this short pleasure to 'The Lesser Lakes', a song that stays under the 2 minute mark, has a simmering application that marches with slopping out accents that slip into something almost tribal. The bass that drives the whole shebang is determined to keep all players on a strict course, it does just that when the bare basic chorus cut comes and...achieves. I am noting this one down as another high point. And lastly - 'Western Splits', a song with a touch of far-away exotica that inter-mingles with the bands usual lazy leanings, power chugs and indified accents. The string twangs add extra life, encourages the song to stay undulated and this one signs off in a fairly decent way.
I have taken my time with this one (like I do with most CD's to be honest) and mulled over the rhythmic reflections emanated and let them swirl around the old noise-addled noggin. At first I was unsure and thus was tentative in my reaction but, after many rotations, I feel if taken in small doses this is worth a bit of time and effort. It isn't what many call 'punk', but I couldn't give a fuck about that as boundaries and labels are only suffocating hindrances. My advice is to stay curious and always dabble - here you may find something to mix in with your usual fodder - I certainly hope so!
BLACK VOLVO - BAD DRIVING
I am sure I have seen Black Volvo, in fact I would put a wager on it but, for the ruddy life of me, I can't remember anything about them whatsoever. Now this could be down to one of several reasons, these being, an over-indulgence of drink (highly likely), an addled head that is awash with way too much noise (quite possibly) or the band are so fuckin' bland they never even registered on the Fungal scale (this can happen). Now this punk trio from Amsterdam face some close up scrutiny on CD, oh fuck, in for a penny, in for a pound and...fuck em' all.
We open with the repeat rupturing blood-blister known as 'To Shit Is To Live', an instantly roasting song that has many flavours that, in some circles, are common place and often mirrored. It is fast, roaring and raging - it is tight as a vagabonds hand on chips and as free-flowing as the gibberish from a possessed priest. The only gripe I have is the lack of identity it reflects in a pit loaded with similar sonic sewerage where many are striving to be fast as fuck but are lacking depth. Just an observation from a fucker drenched in discordance but this shouldn't detract from a well-played outburst (although to many petty minds it may just do that - as said, fuck em' all). 'Paranoia' comes from switched-off, unprepared substrates before finding a rhythm and then hammering forth and outstripping the middling opener by searing harder, flowing from verse to chorus with hungry and desperate desire and overall just making for one blazing construction that feels both inflammable and...complete. The splat fuck of hot gravy that is blown from the heat injected pan is splendid and just to make sure I strip off and get my bollocks burnt too.
A corned piece called 'Punk Rock Family' is next, an outburst that promotes acoustic incest and for some spiked reason, doesn't ring true with what I witness on this fractured scene. The song is a rabble rousing effort that will appeal to many in certain gatherings but as a black sheep who wanders his own path it means little to me - what a twat! The song is played ferociously, whips up the dogs in the kennel and then gets them enthused with an easily joined in with chant before leaving the buggers to it. Chew the bone that is thrown and let me say each to their own! Next and the free-rolling crud-crumble of 'Molly', a creepy construct that has a seamy, despicable slant as well as the usual flaring nostrils of noise lust that sees the band create discordance with zest. The rusted impalings, the back twinges and the youthful horror chants all combine but fail to raise this one above the judgemental level of 'average'. The chasing song 'Hangin' Johnny' has more impetus, throws itself on tight tones across the substrate of attention whereupon it seizures, pulse pushes with tireless desire and a red light thirst that is almost vampiric in essence and in desperate need to penetrate your jugular and drain you of all impeding thoughts. Quick and to the point - too quick to kick, too fast to blast!
I am looking down the barrel of 12 more tracks and so, crack on. 'Trailer' gets dragged along and thrown about with musical gumption. The slant is the same, the raucous and unruly threshold on which the band advance is fairly orthodox here and gives us one of the more easier songs to pick up, play, enjoy and toss aside. 'Self-Medicator' rushes with urgency and sees the band hit their true groove although this fast fuckery is being overdone in many pits and needs something extra added to the fire. This is straight ahead speed thrusting with trimmings kept minimal, the sear factor kept mid-flame and the final full stop always in sight - for those pleased thus far there will be no change. 'Repeat Again And Again' hollers in, applies itself with the expected griminess and then goes through the routine of another rectal ripping angst. Usual fare for a CD fast losing its bite and the end stop, start and stagger just annoys rather than appeals. My least favourite of the lot, enhanced by a creeping ennui - bastards, I am only human after all. I take a well-earned break and bathe my balls in QC - tis the only way.
Globes on fire, now to 'Pants On Fire' a song that retches up a hard riffed fur ball of fuckin' clogging annoyance. It is spat forth and bounces around the room with heavyweight effect and eventually rattles the noggin in good style. That chorus is one hungry fucker and feeds on your will with ravenous relish. Repeat spins embolden the boom, bring to the fore the actual saturation of the situation and I need another dose of sherry just to gain some semblance of balance - by heck I am in a bad way. 'Hillegom Hellbound' is a throbbing bastard full of belly rage, irritation and 'fuck you' surging. The impetus has a quick stop start effect but this is hardly noticeable and the fuzz cloud that is kicked up dazzles the senses. More of the same folks, is this what you want?
5 swift nailings - 'Eagle Mind' - stops, starts, radiofies and runs with it. The formula is to barrage and belt out, keep the clamour electrified and push as per. 'Drunk Train' kicks dust, slips into the same guise, grabs and goes for it with all asses tanned. 'Burlesque Dancer' bounces breasts of belligerence, twat gyrates with speed and tries mightily to hypnotise with the usual motions. 'Wood Work Saved My Life' opens with gibberish, carves with clout and nails with clubbing affect - the end construct is sanded down and is average fodder. 'Irish Man In A Scottish Pub' rapidly develops from a bubbling mess with identity exposed, similarity too obvious and the sonic affect choppy and unsettled rather than riffed with razored efficiency. That inner based explosion though is fuckin' spot on and could have led to so much more rewarding material. There you go, 5 fuckers snatched at, run through and given terse wordage for you to contemplate - my opinion is more of the same, there is nothing stand out or grabbing the gonads as to warrant further keyboard based creation - bah. Apologies but that is the how it feels to me and as a neutral I reckon it is fair enough.
The last song of the lot and 'Rebel Revolution, Red Wine' assaults the senses with such consistency and with no new weaponry that I feel almost deflated and reckon that the crack of the whip has been hindered by the overdose of specific generic dinnage. The band throw in their all, tis true that they build up a good tumult but I am all blown out by this point and class this as another step too far. The reggae dabble is mockery and misses the chance to throw in a last minute tangent – oh ye daft sods.
My waning interest and lack of positivity towards the latter end of this CD may seem wrong to some but I maintain up to the last that the material here has failed to last the 17 track length and there is just too much of the same old, same old. I am 1250 CD's into this reviewing lark and have listened to 1000's more, so to expect originality or some mind-blowing moment would be stupid. What I do expect though is a CD that is timed just right, has gumption and varies the attack. Gumption is plentiful, the other 2 requests have not been met though. Care to disagree, care to agree - I am one man trying - and I refuse to use bullshit to win favour.
THE ROUTES - IN THIS PERFECT HELL
An Anglo-Nipponese three-piece squad that crawl from Hita City in Japan and play some gritty garaged-up sub-glamour with mean direction and, I suspect, the odd erection. There is a distinct focus here, a purist homage to the 60's culture with an ability to propel it forward and give it value in this current sonically saturated day. It is all grand fodder to my Fungal appetite and I duly open wide and await another good mouthful of music to go down my acceptant orifice - oh what a glutton!
Firstly and the slow hand wank of 'Thousand Forgotten Dreams'. It is a slow vibrant back-scratch of sound that abrades whist massaging the musical muscle and gets a reaction that is both worthy and gratifying. The fibre of the number is tough and rugged, moves with a determined waft that has an almost tiger-ish approach. The glistening guitars, the sub-sleazy sandpaper of the gob, that heart-palpitating bass and the water-torture tympanics all combine to captivate and this, as an initial, non-too vulgar opener is just a teasing treat to take us, by the eager hand, further in to the silver circle of promise. From the glutinous and grabbing to the tones of 'Something Slipped Through My Win', a tinny clubbing done with regulated rhythm and deliberate intent. The nails of noise are hammered with pecking routine, there is almost a militaristic approach beneath the upper scuzz as well as an insistence to not let one's balls thoroughly hang out. The restraint does hinder but the band scrape by with an accent of yore that many will embrace. Just a little too regimented for me - sorry chaps. 'Peeling Face' begins with zested pizzazz, pronounces and then pounces with a very attracted magnetism that sucks in the interest and never lets it go. Amidst the vibrations is a breeze blown freshness as well as that invading string wander that feeds the song and gives it a nudge to keep on bounding. The vocals are nicely barbecued, the energy persuasive and the overall acoustic aroma of dance till ya drop delight all adding to an easy flowing winning formula - very simple, very effective!
Further in we delve, 'No Permanence' rust rattles and twinges before the first verse envelopes us and drives with a certain order before colliding headlong into a simple and swift hollered out chorus that leaves one wanting just a little more. The whole song is in accordance with what has transpired thus far but lacks flamboyance and convincing thrust and just leaves the listener a trifle deflated. An inner shimmer does little to elevate my interests levels - I fly out and wave a flag of 'average' - bah! 'Worry' is a better track, finds a defining thread to hold onto and weaves a direct line of mid-paced scurfiness that is perhaps lacking ambition but recognising the furrow it wants to make and just gets its noggin down and goes for it. A nag slag that wraps its thighs around you and thrusts with persistent need and has a need to drag out a positive response which I, as a victim, just about offer up! 'Make You Hate Me More' is a cocky runt, parading itself on perhaps the most sanguine tones whilst bringing into a play a certain sub-sleaze that magnetises the inner pervert. The verses are as per, the chorus has a persuasion - I am in tune with this but recognise the need for a real change in tune with a pace riddled blow out now an essential must!
The back four and a run to the tape. 'Housework In My Head' is a magnetising scrawl across the senses of indifference that comes with carnival colours and rewarding resonances from a fairground of fun that operates on many rusted hinges. The keyed cadences, the rotating carousel persistence and the pseudo-hauntings from a dilapidated house of terror - a real decent escort this that conjures many visions. 'Oblivious' enters on pronouncements and sub-shimmers before dragging its feet and failing to add a much needed sugar rush. The application is very targeted, too precise for its own good and thus loses a chance to throw forth something more natural, liberated and perhaps, more gratifying. Not my favourite as you may have guessed. The penultimate ditty and 'In Years Gone By' sticks to the trying tempo but gets by with the caressing methodology that retains the distinguishing antique features of the band and rekindles that recent fairground apparition that invaded my grey gunk. Very archaic, invoking monochrome dream twists that see wretched she-mannequins dance long after the party is over. Subtle, appealing to innocence and sweetly risen when required. We finalised this whole collection with 'Perfect Hell', a binding, winding waltz with a languid and lucid application that, like thick warm water, is both deliberate in its flowing viscosity but is totally clear and hiding no hidden agenda. A matter of fact moment that slops along without hindrance.
The CD is done and my gripes and joys are thus. Too much of the same tempo and too many songs of a similar format certainly overcooks the quality and leaves one slightly flagging towards the latter end although one or two moments do raise the floundering interest levels. To combat these niggles one must say this is a very genre-exacting piece, has several tunes that are roasted just right and others that exude a potential on which to build further and add extra pizzazz. I am about 25% shy of a full-on gushing, which in many ways, is a good thing as it give me something to looking forward to and the band room to play with (if they so wish).
2SISTERS - COM'ON AND DANCE
Slag and sleaze come on a cruddy breeze and blow my way with old school tonality gusting within the tossed detritus. The melodic motes cloud my attentive framework and I take on the 5 tracks offered by these French fruitloops and do my best to capture what is going on and give a ruddy fair verdict. The tonality of the EP oozes enthusing intent, will the delivery back up the request?
First up and 'Down' sex thrusts with an eager penetration of desiring sound borne from plucky clucking fuckers hell-bent on pecking away at your gonads of reaction and getting you to strut. After the accusatory finger is pointed the noise clatters before stutter screwing with breath-heavy lust. The desire is keen, self-perpetuating and spirals, side-winds and slap-shits all over the listening palette that is smeared with good colour. The skin attention keeps all movement feisty and happening and by using basic rock and roll tones and some good old gumption the band wake up the senses and get a positive result. 'Remember' is a deeper grind that uses muscular hips to reach a blanketed orgasmic state via a certain head-down intensity. Slaggy, unwashed and dripping a toxic sweat this gruelling number insists it achieves and, in a less vulgar way than its predecessor, it does just that. Again, the intrinsically basic elements of noise-creation are used, a distinct sub-glam, pseudo-sleaze make-up applied in shoddy fashion with the end result being a cacophonic countenance mucked up, fucked up and well-abused. There ain't nowt wrong with that!
'My Zombie Girl' – a gruelling push, sexual breath, another bassed up squeeze and into the thriving mush proper. Thrill levels rise, the stop-start holler comes and goes and a minimalistic skeleton of sound is brandished and palmed off as a verse. The bass is master here, the 4 cabled behemoth of trembling terror dominates and treads with hefty intent whilst compressing a substrate on which other contributors can follow. The vocals are graveyard borne, the twilight twinges hopeful but a madness pervades. The head has been vibrated too hard for its own good, the naked essentials win the day and all cursed curs will wag their shit-clad tails to this flesh-corrupting ditty.
'Don't Go' begins with a barney that sees a couple trying to sort things out and the bloke involved blow his stack. The temper burst takes us into a mental screw-in, waywardness seems to demand a dictating role but the band defy, hot things up with fiery heels and an encouraging holler before pounding, pausing and plying their trade with eager mitts. A mucky inclusion invades that will aggrieve the delicate, irritate those who seek more polished tones but fuck that lot, this is energised, liberated discordance that is thrown down with a naturalness recognised by those in the gutter. The filth and fury copulate, the lunacy that creeps is welcome and we have a blitzer to bounce with.
'Com'On And Dance/What Have You Done To Me' is a fuckin' piece of extravagant jive jigging, ass swinging joy. The opening burst of this double-ended vibrating delight is an instrumental zenith with the crew swinging with exciting fluidity and being responsible for a let loose explosion even the most dreary dullard can get aroused by. Shake it up, shoot it down and fuckin' bounce baby, bounce. The second segment counter-balances its unchained neighbour with a controlled programme of chuggery that takes to the road of rhythm and adopts a somewhat orthodox highway which, in this instance, is something of a surprise. The safety belts are on but a certain peril is always on the periphery and one can never trust the drivers at the helm. Not a bad trip on which to finish.
A 5 track treat this combining lustful guitars, garaged tympanics and low-down dog vocals. A snottiness, a certain youthful vulgarity and an ear for the chosen shoddy art-form are pleasurably embraced, moulded into one moving beast and let off the leash. Variations in pace, no let-up of the spirit and wholesomely honest, I have heard far worse than this with far more attention thrown in. The message from that is to let it flow ma'an and if it feels good, record it! Yeah, this has been a minor pleasure a bit like bumming a dwarf don't ya know - cor blimey!
HEY SATAN - SELF-TITLED
Stoner Shenanigans here with heavy duty power play very much the order of the decadent day and liable to lead you into the land of the cranially corrupt whose haemorrhage rate is far from that deemed healthy. The band hail from Lausanne in Switzerland, plough deep furrows without distraction and belt out an end mush that is riffed to fuck, unapologetic and shoved up your shitter with brutal intent. I get out a denim jacket, don a syrup (needs must as the bald pate doesn't fit the bill at all) and get ready for a good old head-banging, neck twanging session of Satanism. The goblets of blood are lined up, the basket is loaded with cockerels that are oblivious to their doom and the virginal nun is spread-eagled and awaits untold attention - evil lives!
The first slab of sonic darkness to erupt from the attentive Ouija board is scratched down as 'Fallen City Messiah', a sable slippage that unfolds from heavy duty vibrations into a Woodstockian heave ho of weighted rockism. The intensity, the style and the incessant application of all things hammered makes for a foaming brew not to be gulped too deeply so as to avoid any chance of disabling intoxication. Play with volume, dance with vipers, feel the sweat and venom invade your soul. A very harsh noise this, but in many ways an output that is easy to get into. 'Legal Aspect Of Love' is reclining sleaze with a prowling predator feel that stalks the senses of the listener and repeat pounces with glorified presence. The riffs are drawling, the covering of billowing blankets heavy and suffocating but allowing the victim of the sonica to still stay alive and take note of a very well-worked construction that burrows deep and exposes ample leverage towards the eavesdroppers resistance. I am gradually being worked from the fulcrum of focus, not a bad do at all chaps! 'Sunshine Blues', a throb, a vocal escort - all things kept on a low flame. Progression made is slow, stable and without any flashlight urgency, is this a mistake? The production levels are sound, the gob work is precise and coherent - one waits for the throat to be torn in two. We get close but full liberation is mastered and the ascensions expected are...slighter than desired. The song has dreamy drifts, riff twinges with care, grinds out and comes to the final breath - I am not taken!
Fourth in and 'In Cold Blood' clobbers slowly, uses its weight advantage to grapple ones resistance to the floor whereupon a slow death grip follows and gently squeezes away any potential negativity. It is a method of a certain style, it broods, makes plans and then moves in a fashion that is quite difficult to get any grip on. With no piercing highs and no definite lows this is a steady muscle move that embraces like a boa-constrictor in no rush at all. The question is - are you prepared to be gripped? '1991' reclines, observes and inhales before puffing out a plume of cloying sonic smoke that accesses all areas and makes for an inescapable reel of stoned out rockism. The vocal style is passionate and hungry for your attention, the guitars escalate and power play whenever the emotion takes them and the drums are thwacked hard by a dude zoned in. The heavy westernised slant and soaked to the skin, sweat imbued sensations that come in increasing lapping waves all convince me, the outsider, that this band are clued in to the cacophonic cause. Next in line and the pregnant outbreak of 'Song For A Lost Mariner' pulsates with more abandon, nob throbs with fruited articulation that has a blatant zest for the job at hand and sees all rowing rockers make decent haste in a frothing turmoil of oceanic muscularity. Denim-clad die-hard deviants and sun sizzled beer drinking music monsters will headbang and bleed to this tense, yet animated outburst. Again, a mode that is not the norm for my roaming lugs but one I can certainly applaud and...appreciate!
'Red Light Woman', cymbal sussurates before a twinging pain brings in the initial string twist. The guys at the fore rock on, ferment their own stinking sonic wine and bring forth a flavour that flows down the gullet with thermal energy and strict generic adhesiveness. Riff, cruise, swing and thrust - more of the same and if you are already convinced why do I need to labour the point? 'Bastardizer' is a better track for me, pounds straight in, pounds away at the pasty white midriff and creates a troubled, unsettled outpouring that seems to use a lot less time than the 1 minutes 59 seconds signified. Short and impacting - the only way to do it. 2 left and I waste no time in reaching the end tape. 'Black Flags Down' is restless, throws itself about with wild abandon before a harmonised accoutrement appeases the savage nature and adds a certain control. No sooner is the monster placated than it breaks free, hammer fucks the brain and builds yet more turmoil. Thank fuck more ease hollers come and add contrast and colliding tonality - this makes for one fair listen although this comes from a fucker right out of his sonic sphere (whatever that is these days). To the finale and 'This Meat Stinks. Honey' is an instrumental that moves on the same turgid limbs, sweats with the same sonic intentions and takes us to the waiting silent punctuation mark in heavy vibrating style - I sign off - all a quiver!
Not my style, not my bag but Hey Satan have power aplenty, ripple the airwaves with accuracy and provide a molten lava that even my spiked ass gets singed by. I leave my textual dabblings here - make of them what you will and if provoked, enjoy the noise.
THE MASONICS - OBERMANN RIDES AGAIN
From the suburbs of Rochester and London arise a long slogging trio known as The Masonics, a rhythmed up band who use many bare assed rock and roll vibes, chew up and digest and then shit them out in their own eager beaver style. To fuck about with a lengthy intro seems obscenely unnecessary so I fuckin' crack on and crap out the following honest bilge water.
Track the first is 'I Ain't Hurting For You', a burst that begins with startlingly crisp and ear-catching guitars before moving through the first verse with a direct and sobered drive that shakes off the emotion and kicks back against a love-induced pain. The clash and smash is controlled but apparent, the fact that the lead lout is on the cusp of a full on holler out but strait-jackets his passion and helps create a tune of growing tension. The overall construction is tight and corrosive, is basic and impacting and gets the CD off on a very sure footing. 'Don't Torment Me' is robust, rocking and very direct with a bassy kind of drilling and jangling gusto that is cooled down by the sobered vocals and solid impetus. The flustered and flowing, the grinding and growing all make this a simple effort to pick up, play and take pleasure in! A very active and animated piece that gets the CD truly up and happening.
'Your Dangerous Mind' is a cool cucumber rammed into your back passage of attention and left to casually pump away and fill you with persuasive seeds of sonic goodness that will eventually give rise to a birth of applause. As I play and examine over and over the bass is noted as precise and tamed, the guitars as scratchy shufflers and the sticks as dustbin lid dust disturbers that relish the chance to add some pollution. The gob clings onto decency and provides clear and lucid wordage to roll along with - nifty! 'I Don't Understand Her Anymore', is a lovely effort, a combination of the retrofied, the exotic and the sub-tribal - a real rippling rhythm entices me further, the exactness of all components completes the deal and I vibrate my todge of tonality to a very rewarding tune. The melody undresses, the productive application caresses, the end result is one sneaky seduction - a real shining light! 'You Don't Have To Travel' has cartooned elements, caveman leanings and a distinct accent that conjures up pictures of a B-movie Elvis Presley freak, straining at the groin to spurt forth a tuneful identity of his own (I know pathetic isn't it but that is how the mind works). These vandalising visions of the cerebral decency should in no way deflect from the song as its own structure but I am still finding it one of the least appealing of the lot. The singer, at times, sounds in pain, the trundle never veers from its own uneven track and I am just left out on the cold as regards a positive response - what can I do?
'The Unforgiver' blues it up, harmonises from a solar kissed porch before rising and advancing to the tune on whiskey drenched bow legs across dusted ground, parched and in need of some noisy nutrients. The ones offered are borne from a slow release capsule of sound that takes too long to get from A to B and offers no flamboyance or enthusing outbursts along the way. Just one steady, arthritic plod that has good texture but not enough 'whoop'. I move on, paradoxically unmoved! 'You're A Stranger' is a lifting surge, has more persuasive petrol in the ticking tank and spurts its exhaust fumes into anyone's mug willing to get up close and personal. A scuttling and leaking number that rolls along in ramshackle fashion but appeals nonetheless. One of those natural occurrences that leaves little else to add. 'You Won't See Me Again' clambers through a refuse skip, fights for release and hollers out its titled threat with determination. A further rise comes, the song takes on a new aspect and is given new life with a driving push, a very fixed point of view and a controlled trash-can thrash that clanks to an apparent sort of success. Not bad at all!
Drums clobber briefly, a cute hook is had and the band plough out a very compelling listen via the ditty spread across your attentive sensors as 'I'm A Redacted Man'. The plot behind this song is simple - play a good melody, let those verses and chorus cuts copulate with oiled smoothness and provide some easy to pick-up lyrics and let the rest take care of itself. It isn't rocket science and it surely doesn't need to be. 'What Do You Do' is a questioning piece of tepid music that takes its own time to play out a waltzing weave that wonders how someone would go on if the woman they loved was absent. A soppy cum serious scenario and one for the recently jilted methinks, those who want to wallow in a mire of self-pity - miserable gits. Not my style and a moment that gets on me thre'penny bits to be honest. Bah. Not badly played, crooning and mooning that will soon have me swooning I reckon. Oh get over it ya buggers!
4 to the finish and a rocket is placed up my ass and I zoom to the last. 'Come On My Little Darlin' is a Jerry-built totter on swift blues'ed blisters that survives its own set course by being a plucky fucker with plenty of vivacious punch present and a clear vocal repetition that is loaded with undeniable desire that knows what it wants...and needs. A sex-pest sincerity is washed forth in the nicest possible way and all I can suggest to any listening lasses is you can get involved or snip this one off at its throbbing knackers. 'You Gotta Tell Me' has a sound accent to the opening guitars, they lead the way for another usual bout of cool dude cruising on a uneven track that keeps all passengers animated. There is little swerving from the road of rhythm, I feel as though I needed some veering at this stage but that is just a case of latter stage blues, a complaint we all get from time to time. Tidy but not outstanding from the pack. I bail out and pick up different fumes on, appropriately enough 'The Unsignposted Road', a middling melody that brings in a countrified feel and a she-shadow that offers up a slightly different slant. I am not overly taken, it is a flat-lined number and I was looking for a flourish to a CD that has met many expectations. I don't feel I can add much more, so I don't! The last of the lot and I seek out a sensation. 'Obermann Rides Again' slaps, puts the foot down and bowls along with enticing impetus that drags us to the final silence on an upbeat note. A certain repetition makes it easy to jump in line with and at this late stage I don't want nothing too convoluted to confound the noggin.
Finished I am and the verdict is decent methinks with the band still capable of much more. There are many splendid moments here, some efficiently gushing and a few that are perhaps too simple for their own good and just lacking that extra flamboyance the band are more than capable of adding. Some may say I am clutching at straws, some may agree - tis part of reviewing and trying to be fair, oh fuck it!
WOLF GIRL - MOODY
From South London come Wolf Girl, a 4-piece offering 2 tracks and getting Fungal back in the groove with poppy garage and cute tinklings of an observational slant. The band have a very fragile feel to their offerings and a distinct innocence and tentativeness that at first makes for a difficult approach but eventually welcomes and just gets beneath the acoustic epidermis. I have reviewed the band once before and was intrigued, will this sensation be maintained or will I find a deflation take place and my nob of noise wither away - testes crossed folks!
The first track of the brace is adorned with the name of 'Moody', a slow moving montage of softly colliding elements solarised with warm application and care-laden harmonies that comfort, caress and climb oh so slightly up the stairway of sonic tonality. The crisp and the condensed embrace, the construction is both fuzzed and scurfy as well as being paradoxically serene and smooth. There are no definite boundaries between each sub-section and no distinct verse and chorus sections as such. What we get is one lengthy meander that has weight, has charm and holds on to those characteristic traits the band emit so regularly and so, pleasurably.
The opposing tinkle on the flip side (if you have a record) or by the side of its neighbour (if you have a CD) or indeed from within the web weave (if you are listening on-line) is called 'Get You'. A kind of quick slushy love drop that brings crisper and firmer guitar strokes, move impetus infected skin work and a girly-girl accent that keeps things open armed. There is a desperate frustration in the thrust, an element of desire that conjures stupidity and some potential regretful behaviour but there ya go - we are all victims to emotion.
Nothing untoward here, nothing outrageous either - just a casual stroke of sprightly music that holds no offensive angles and doesn't request a lot of cerebral computation. Pick up and play - toss off or toss in the bin, just fuckin' do something at least!