FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 3
THE KRAYONS - READY, STEADY, NUKE
A band here that keep it unflustered, uncomplicated and unaffected with the frontman a dude with a good appetite and a good many contacts which will no doubt help the overall cause. The delivery of the crew in the 'live' pit is forceful and to the point whilst on CD it is rough arsed, equally direct and as real as ya want it. The band have played a few Fungal gigs, I have liased with frontman Jamie on many things and to date I have no gripes at all - will the album under scrutiny here keep up this rewarding flow or will it be time to offer up critical honesty and give things a fresh and breezy blow out - either way I hope we'll all still be on the same wavelength and doing our bit - fingers and toes crossed (ouch me arthritic digits).
'Gaza' strips away the silence with a powerful throat thrust before pursued by some scrambling punkage built on swiftly shuffled strings, well whacked skins and hard trembled cables, that all combine to make a rough and ready routine of orthodox punkage that transcends (or should) sub-scene boundaries and era soaked circles that forever confound and divide the discordant pit in which we dwell. No time for nonsense, just straight in and at you with corrosion levels high, irascibility bristling continuously and the meat of the song sliced and diced and flung this way and that. Typical of The Krayons, a band who like to nail their noise and fuck off into the next track without too much arsing about. Galloping upside the first mare of molesting aggravation is 'Vile Infestation' a 1 minute, 24 second clash out of irate insistence that lashes out at the fascist/racist bigots who try to prey on the weak and warp the minds to a diseased way of thinking. This is a mere chest relieving eruption with a political stance many will bound along with, and why not? It bursts with irritation and from the first violent Oi shouts through the machine tear up to the more regarded rhythms this one seethes and hammers home its pertinent point with passion - a job well done with distracting tassels to confound.
Third track in, a semi-skanked scuffle that provides bouncing enthusiasm and easy pogo foundations on which to ping. The sharp flutterings of the verses are separated by traditional Krayon coloured chorus cuts thus giving 'Conformity Or Insanity' a more jolting and compelling acoustic accent to get engaged by. By far the best track so far and a route that the band should consider for further exploration although the fact that it finds itself immersed amidst more blatant aggro-fied numbers is to its advantage. Production wise we are given a track that combines the roughened edges of the crew with their more refined aspects and really showcases what potential we have on our punked mitts. Again, far from a Eureka moment and nothing new under the glaring sun but done with such precision and conviction as to be thoroughly enjoyed.
And forth into the next 3 with avoidance of foolish periphrasis that would convolute your noggins and put my digits under more unnecessary pressure. I shall be pertinent and grasp a certain accuracy (I hope). 'False Flying Flag' is an ill tempered tumble awash with nerved activity and unsettled steam-rollering angst. A moment that wavers on the edge, clings on, has mackled touches of new school rhythm and is totally resolute in its assaulting methodology - a strong piece that just lacks any convincing rhythm. 'Cunts In Suits' is primitive filth mongering, hard slapping sonica kept alive with a molested bass line, raped and ravaged skins, slashed guitar strings and of course a contrasting mix of brutal verse and sing-a-long chorus invasions - a simple but effective mix that sees 2 sides to a cacophonic coin spun, blur and become as one. The third in the quick whipped trio is labelled as 'Upload', a terse account of bold tuneage that pummels the pasty white midriff of your lethargic carcass and demands attentive activity. Another tune that combines upstrokes and downstrokes with a pace injected that gets the job done in a sub two minute running time. To the point, without fuss and clobbering - I would expect nowt less.
Fast fuck idiocy next with 'Fuck A Pie' a hard crusted number that drips with incessant vocal gravy and meaty chunks of guitar and gristle gusto, all force fed into your salivating punked gob for no other reason than pure insanity. Whoa hoa's are thrown in to the jack hammer madness and maniacal pressure is top notch throughout with my only gripe being that they never mentioned pasties once - some sort of savouryists I reckon this lot are and the sooner we stamp out baking prejudice the better - nasty pasty people fight back...NOW! 'Don't Believe' is an old fave of mine and a song that has a sharp toothed chomp that latches on and shakes you ragged with throaty ill-temper and a thrashing scuttlefest of sound that is souped up on whizzoid energy and youthful need. There is an organic honesty pumping the pistons of spunky punky sentiment and the ravishing warmth of tenacity radiated is not only impressive but purely from the blazing gut. A song to adhere itself within your cerebral gunk and to drip down and out when least expected - good work chaps.
'Kill Torys' is more somersaulting seizured sound building with tendon straining skank agitating itself onto enthused plateaus before maniacal bursts of toxic temper are slopped from the blazed guts at your naked feet. The inflammatory ragings that issue forth are suitable for both melodic strains and are interwoven by the harsh manipulating mitts of a band under no illusions about the toned turdage they evacuate from the ever grumbling bowels. Again, noise that appeals to the most basic senses which makes it a quite gratifying upchuck for a spiked sod to swallow. The closure comes with 'Worlds Gonna Burn', a piss off and goodbye punctuation mark to top this fiery ten tracker with all areas piercing, cacophonically canny and perspiring boiled blood has a doom laden outlook is taken, chewed on and accepted with gung ho releases had. The song wires up, fries its own inner core and finds self borne enthusiasm upon which many an incandescent attitude laden spark is borne. It may not be convoluted, intricate techno twiddling to absorb the most muso-minded eavesdroppers but is has that bare assed rawness that appeals to many - yikes!
The Krayons do it their way, the transparent way and offer no trickery or sinister shit-arsing. You know what you'll get with this lot be it 'live' or on CD and at this stage I ain't complaining. Jamie at the fore is a good fruit, with his hands in many punky pies and I just hope that himself, and his band mates, keep enthused and keep stretching themselves sonically. This is decent dinnage but can only be used for a certain period before becoming too much of the same - think on sweet soniceers and keep blasting yer balls off.
THE TICKTURDS - TICKTURDIUS MAXIMUS
I am turned on by The Tickturds - does that disturb you? The sonic smell emanated from such glorious DIY droppings swells my shaft of attention! The creators of such filth do it in a way with underscrubbed attention and raw arsed effect which, will lead, to a position under the radar where many can't be arsed to look - ignorant gits. I like to get down and dirty with the bugs at the bottom, here I go again, scratching about with a crew led by a gob with a firm beating attitude and a clued in nature - feed me yer shit ma'an.
A two-winged wonder lands on my todge of indifference, looks me in the eye and utters an introductory statement. I utter the words piss off and the fly duly does and makes way for the first heave ho of noise. The stone is turned, the first sonic beetle to scurry around is the drastically clattered smash and grab seizure known as 'Comfort Zone'. A thriving critter this covered in discordant detritus and various mucky elements that all go some way to setting a scene that is natural, kicking and without inbred idiocy. The musical trail left is veering, skewed and screwed with activity levels high as opposed to those in their safety nets who get fatter and fatter as the days roll by. This is a quite vicious sounding piece that will have spruced up and well scrubbed soniceers running for the undergrowth - silly cunts. The next beast to be seen fleeing for the cover of 'review free' sanctity is 'Monkey', a scuttler that starts with a groovy garaged wind before judder fuckin' its nasty jizzum this way and that over the substrate of decency. Again The Tickturds stick to primitive instincts and regurgitate an inner passion without any thought of professionalism. The careening nature and junkyard crudity is very much an acquired taste and as long of people throw off their infecting shackles of expectation and may it be said, pomposity, they could easily get down and dirty with this spillage.
'Underdog' next, a bolder tympanic stride, a firmer footed fucker with the strawberry beating hard and the outer surfaces glistening with perspired spirit and defying dedication to a lost cause. The bass is the blood in the beast and gushes with determination and so drags the rest of the carcass along in untidy fashion (it is what the band do). Of the three acoustic insects observed thus far perhaps this is the least desirable piece but the intent carries the cause and for that reason alone it is worth your time - chomp, chomp. 'C. T. S.' is a metamorphing creature that begins as a restless pupa and suddenly spasms and arises as a fast flutter fly that maintains a rigid balance in front of your peepers and does its discordant stuff. A terse flapper this with a hunger apparent that overlooks delicacy and has its sights on a sonic scoff up and of course, chasing cough off - blah. No nonsense, straight forward buzzing. No sooner has the fly emerged and fucked off before our attention is drawn to a moving mound of rotten wood that is 'Eyes In The Sky', a mid-paced pulsating number that operates like a flat-backed millipede with many legs missing and those that remained totally wrapped around one another and forever on the cusp of a fall. An ungainly beast with each department of dinnage as incongruous as the next and making for a fairly uncomfortable listen (no bad thing) that doesn't have enough heave ho (a bad thing). Following up this songs arse is the similar and equally frustrating 'Revolution' a flatworm that goes through the usual motions and only occasionally makes any impression in the attentive substrate. With a song of such a name I expected a big fuck off strike out with a rib-quaking chorus to tremble at - what we get is a tame number that emerges, crawls and disappears without much trace - the second sub-par scrabbler for me - sorry chaps
I move on, look beneath the next discordant log and find the electrically fidgety glowworm known as 'Player'. A more coruscating affair, a real tumbledown trash tickler of tempestuous waywardness that delights my DIY core as it does its unclean stuff. Throbbing with a thirst, bubbled up with excitable palpitated bassism and knocked about with twat fuck tympanics - the song is happy rolling in the detritus and as a matter of fact, so am I! 'Jesus Creepers' is plodding episode of glutinous musical buggery that is slowly whipped before a final rapido whisking is given in blatant bare assed terms. A treacle stepping reccie this with the stormy threat finally coming to fruition via turbulent cascades of the soiled elements with my advice being to strip off and get thoroughly soaked via the pluvial cum sonic substance. 'My God' follows a similar lyrical theme with the instrumental noise here more restrained and lacking any kickshaw moments to get all areas thoroughly ram-raiding the noisy neurones. It is a somewhat straight ahead effort and rather than thump home its vibe it kind of tries to sidle inwards and subtly get the feet tapping and the noggin nodding - it falls just a little short I am afraid.
'Invasion/Liberation' is flutterfuck garbage that is worthy of a rummage for those with soiled sonic souls and eyes for things totally off the frayed cuff. These aberrant upchucks of resolute rubbish readily find themselves borne from a quarrelsome tin can of jarring enthusiasm and barbed carelessness and that, in itself, is somewhat encapsulating of the whole 'do it yourself' ethos and gets my ever-roughened aural senses tingling. 'Nigel' follows and is a foolish boil of quick fire contrary noodleism with a flurry of indecipherable lyricology cascading over itself in blurred avalanches of cracked rapido rockin'. No sooner in than out, similar in fact to a prematurely ejaculating vicar in a choir boy - ooh errr! Back in to a more strait jacketed style of sonica with the heavily massaged 'Serious Loss Of Doubt' a more orthodox sub-oscillation of throb nob noise that adopts a routine ‘stick with it’ throughout. A sinewy rippler that grimaces hard and curls down a sweating turd of tonality onto your apathetic lap of pigged ignorance that really does need fouling to make you more clued in to the underground excrement out there. It is all awaiting the attention of your inert nasal passages you know. Sniff big oh sonic seekers, this is real, this is a band with no pretence and I love the stench.
Onwards, another wank-waltz in which you can be led by the players spunked mitts and tossed about with cruel mania. 'Mr Angry' vents a spleen, grooves and grinds before steam train rattles along whilst the lead driver mouths off into the turbulence with the usual worn tonsilisation. When the pedal is pushed to the floor the rail side witnesses are held but but when the band switch down and opt for 'cruise mode' a severe derailment is had that sees all aural onlookers dive for cover with lug plugs at the ready. It is a case of nice idea, missed chance I feel and as soon as the coals are re-fired the better. A fifty/fifty fucker this with monochrome hatred and colorized love blended to create a shitty indecisive murk - uuurgghhh! We close with the slow sex thrust of 'Zombie Hen Blues', a deliberate repeat beat offender that rises to whooping sub-orgasmic highs midway through the shenanigans before exhibiting itself with showy instrumentalisation that is coarse, vulgar and yet somehow worthy of a second peek. There is a crude swagger here, a prominent bulge in the kecks of decency and maybe its my warped outlook or a matter of exact fact but the band are surely best playing this with balls bared and arses clenched - it is just that kind of number and a darn neat way to finish. I love the dirt baby!
Look The Tickturds are trash, of that they should be very proud because trash is indeed an art form and when tipped up and left to blow about the sonic streets can be picked up by many low down mongrel who likes nothing better than to chase down windblown, naturalised acoustic clutter and keep it safe in a bin of many flavours. It goes that way, some prefer the thoroughfares of noise cleaned of such untidy shit, I am happy to be one of the few who litter lickers with all sense of decency lost - have that!
VOMIT - EST 1977
Vomit - now there's a typical punk name. What would you expect from a crew borne in 77 and coughed back up in the present day and still riled up and raring to rock. The noise from these Congleton cacophoneers I expect to be typically old school and if so I have no gripes but I do hope they have transcended time and added a new essence so as to keep the relevance and rhythm up to speed. Anyway, it is all a question of find out and see and that is what I bloody well plan to do.
What better way to start a CD than with a good old crowd inducing sing-a long and 'Innocent Till Proven Guilty' is just that. It isn't canned and corned material that sucks up to the eavesdroppers sold out side but is a decently weighted offering that wraps around itself with pick up and pogo ease that will have those not desirous of a convoluted track so early on bopping along with glee. It gets the punter involved without much effort and despite being of an obvious shopworn style the swift pace, production and the aforementioned easily digested construction all make this an easy one to acoustically agree with. Yet more typical punk sloganeering with 'I Don't Wanna Be You' another archetypal burst of spiked smouldering that sees the traditional title slammed home in ceaseless fashion whilst being interspersed with defiant slanted wordage that just wants to left alone. Again a tune that should piss on the passage of time and keep long term lugs enthralled and new school listeners enthused. Too many of the new brigade want overly intricate nonsense rather than a bit of bog standard rabble rousing rocking - a real puzzler with many a point missed - daft cunts - remember eclectic outlooks are the best!
And so forth...
Into another brace...
with 'She's Fit' - a weaving bass line, an explosion of strings and sticks before a soft delicate vocal style throws us off kilter and creates a tune that one didn't quite expect. This one harkens back to an offering seemingly borne from those indie charts of the late 70's so many of us used to check up on in those hallowed pages of the Sounds/NME/Melody Maker music papers. It has spiky taches here and there amid a soft overlay of matt shadings and an underscore of more striking strokes - a quite indefinite number that just scrapes by due to its pseudo-nostalgia feel that I am sure many from the pits of yore will enjoy the taste of. I remain, as the song, indecisive! 'What Me' kaleidoscopes tones before producing automated lines above a score of slightly rumpled and palpitated corrosion that adds a stability and of course a semi-unwashed edge that equalises the song somewhat and gives it a certain earthiness. The tempo is mid-paced and slightly lumbering with no highs and no lows taken thus creating a flatline flavour that could just have been something more. The same can be said for the chasing 'Question Time' but, despite the same approach we get slightly frisky guitar work penetrations here that, like the electrodes on the neck of the Frankenstein monster, give that spark of life. I prefer this second song from the latter brace and give it a honest nod of appreciation.
I am slowly and steadily getting involved with this CD but it is one of those that takes quite a few spins. Some go that way and usually turn out to be the ones with the greatest longevity factor - worth re-considering in 6 months I reckon. Alas the band want a review now so I plod on and take the next three in one wholesome chunk and upchuck some textual assessments to give hint at the essence. 'Unsteady Mind' scratches in with razored rhythm before moving into a really absorbing bout of discerning dinnage that cuts to the marrow of the music lover who prefers things with a diaphanous approach that reveals the inner workings of the acoustic hearts. The sublime clarity and the yesteryear sensations combined with the bands well-versed attentions make this one of the best of the lot for me and guarantees to give you all the more instinctive vibes involved. 'Seadogs, Snakebelts & Yellow Choppers' comes forth on restless liquidity that has a persistent pushing quality heavily dusted with spumescent granules that give the appearance of sudsy sonica always on the move but in various directions. The song does have a blatant focus though and rapidly repeat beats with a perpetuallity that just burrows beneath your tattooed skin - not bad and followed in uniform fashion by the slower account known as 'Schizo John', a song that begins with a maniacal laugh and deals with a split personality which keeps one forever guessing. Back to orthodox methodology here with verse/chorus/expected break and final wind-down the order of the day and if anyone is looking for challenging chunks of noise they may get deflated here but, if like this fair and honest reviewer, they just want some decent discordance to gorge upon then everything will be alright on the night.
4 to go, another final fling of the textual twattage and another attempt at getting things fairly hinted at. 'Nothing I Can Say' power pumps with echoing regularity with each versed/well rehearsed strum firm and in-line and with a drilling drive that demands full attention. This strong lashes of the wires are operated against with a soft oral style that has an in-built coolness and undeniable attraction that, as a stand alone, would struggle, but in the midst of the melee, works. Next and a clatter splat, a rattling road tumbled over with 'Dogshit' sticking in every exposed part and giving a brief stinking episode that comes, goes and leaves a stain. 'Breakaway' is more like it with sharded glass tones followed by big swinging fist riffs that knock holes in your senses and force out a bout of unpolluted jig and swig zeal. The liquid style and exuding effervescence of the ascending chorus and the general swift application with texturising whoa hoas make this an impressive moment so late in the day - a penultimate peach to keep the juices flowing. The closure comes via 'All Alone', a more cultured article of sound with perhaps the bands most emotive piece to date. Again the drift is fairly straight, avoids any meandering distraction but relies on a decent depth and most steady and enthralling sway that sucks one in and bobs along with incessant gentleness. It is a fine finish and opens up new vistas for the next CD spillage.
Vomit have a good resolute style here that avoids being predictable crash, bang and wank offal by bringing into play a softer edge to proceedings primarily led by the gob at the fore. The alteration of corrosive chordage and cared for riffage works and I have a strong feeling that Vomit, if the enthusiasm is there, can top this album next time out by delivering a real thump and caress contrast of fulfilling songs - in the meantime though this will more than suffice.
DESTINATION VENUS - ALL ABOARD...
Long awaited, long overdue and longing to be spun in my player - 'All Aboard' is the latest spillage from a pop punk crew who have floated on the scummy sea of sound for 21 years with the time spent in many troughs and now again on a few crests (the biggest dip being when the band spilt from 2001 to 2011 by the way). Anyway the last few years have seem small inroads made into the overwhelming ocean of noise out there and although the crew are under no illusions as to what opportunities are available and what level of success can be achieved, they still do their stuff honestly, with fun at the fore and without hidden agenda (that will do for me). So it’s down to me assessing trunks (calm down lads and lasses) for a full immersion into the waters of Destination Venus to see what sonic splashes they can make. Nowt like pissing in the pool when ya get the chance. Foreskin back, bladder relaxed...
I crack on and wonder if the CD will continue to soar upwards. 'Drink, Drink, Drink' is as it says, a song for pisspots, a real barrel rolling easy supping serenade for lathered lugs steaming with intoxicating fumes. The band do this type of liberated sound so darn well and cruise along without fuss or flatulence and finalise proceedings with a heart-warming cheers before you reach for the replay button and get the next round in - gotta be done! Next up and into the nice nudgey love-up of 'Fruit Machines', a tale of holiday escapism, that gut wrenching sensation that creeps in when the break is up and the return to raping reality beckons - oh what a sickener it is and Destination Venus capture the stomach sickening feeling with insightful exactitude and tonal accuracy to admire. You can almost hear the persuasive whispers of the murmuring sea, feel the warmth and comforting sand between your chilled out toes and see the heightened colours of the solar friend with swirling fairgrounds and cluttered souvenir shops active. Jump in people, live and breathe that heady feel good factor that has brought so much delight to our natures that need to be blessed with the simple things in life. The song doesn't hit you between the eyes but instead places a reliable arm around your shoulder and squeezes out a most agreeable verdict - lovely. Next up and an unexpected trip down Mortuary Lane with 'Jane D. O. A.' perhaps revealing a little too much about what transpires in the players’ minds when not on a stage or at a bar. Idle minds think the devil's filth and that shows to be very much the case throughout this necrophiliac journey that goes into devious detail regarding all that is corpse based love . A whispery graveyard opening sequence swings into a joyous tune that is filled with relish and belies the fact that this is a tale of diseased lust with such great lines as 'From to tip of your nose, to the tag on your toes, I am gonna love til ya decompose' - beautiful. Songs such as this superbly slot into the chosen sub-generic niche and most rewardingly of all is that the band are finally proving, on CD, they are a unit to be reckoned with. How so many have overlooked this fine band is beyond me!
We shut down with the partified sexual twist up known as 'Granny Is A Tranny' a choice frivolous final blow-out that has all the finest assets of the band paraded before your senses in one last blast slab of unadulterated pleasure. Purist simplicity built on the most basic of blocks and shot through with life via a band still very much loving it and with a tongue in the 'don't give a fuck' cheek. Nicely riffed, rolled and rocked, well mixed and pulling into the awaiting harbour of silence on comfortable wavelets - cheeky.
So we have waited and waited and waited and...! The question that arises, for any respectable Destination Venus fan is that was the wait worth it? In all honesty 90% of it was, 10% of me though wanted more and still wants more and I have still a strong yearning for many other classics to be brought forward and thrown into the modern day. The band have enough for another album at least and I reckon if they are on their toes and can get another out there in the wake of this they will do quite alright indeed. I like this album a lot and the fact that I am kept with a little hunger in the belly is undoubtedly a good thing, it is just that I am one greedy fucker for noise - chomp, chomp!
RABID - DEMO
Raw, stringent and hard-nosed outpouring here with a wealth of experience poured into a cocktail of tunes liable to indulge the appetites of the spiky topped old school punkers out there who have been through the mire, felt the highs and lows of an undulating scene and got to the present day somehow still in tact. Sprouting from Leicester, England this lot initially started life back in 1979 where they eventually released an EP and an album (with minor success) before splitting in 1986. Since 2013 the band are back, trying to plough a new reinvigorated furrow within, what is now, a scene of utter excellence with much quality to spout off about. It won't be easy but going by the press pack I received (T-shirt, 2 CD's, multi-coloured vinyl) it seems the band are determined to make an impression and do things the right way - here is my take on the first of those CD's requested for review!
After an initial drum tumble we get a concussive coming together of all music making components, a clash and smash moment that sets the scene for the following onslaught known as 'Jubilee'. From this opening crescendo the band get their ageing heads immediately down and burrow out a furrow of intense passion via a verse that vibrates with perspired and focused fervour. Pursuing this hard driven segment of sound is a perfectly liberated unified shout out that swings forth the title of the song with unprocessed gusto and releasing inflections tattooed with almost celebratory sincerity. The song progresses and repeats the routine, grasps on firmly to the attention and keeps one enthralled throughout its 2 minute 5 seconds running time - a confident start! 'Killer Instinct' stagger strums in, gets up on its heels, spits out a tonsil tirade filled with caustic irritability and froths up with a backdrop of aggression and equal disgruntlement. The slicing string cuts, scatter twatter skins and the snotty holler outs clash and collide with perpetual animation and contribute to give you a discordant dish of foaming, poisonous unrest - it is the ideal follow-up to the opening gambit. 'R. A. T. M.' is similar in stance but is more liquid in the main with the odd guitar sequence careening and seemingly ready to topple. This 'on the precipice' cutlet is loaded with danger and when going through the melodic motions comes out shit stinking high of well-versed musicianship. The construct is as agitated as the rest, well produced and sub-seething that helps the overall lurch to ease up and hold its own ground - a good old thumper with gritty desire is the best way to encapsulate its essence.
'Prophet' and 'Rong Un's' are a mean preaching duo and best reviewed as a cruel couplet rather than stand-alone innocents. Both songs are gristly, sinewy and radiate a feeling of tautness with all rhythmic ringpieces stretched with concerning painfulness and subtle drama. The first chunk simmers with on the leash sub-rage that creates a distinct inner turmoil that leads to a threatening eruption of upper epidermal boils liable to poison your soul with infective sonic pus whereas the second offering has an equal dose of thermal heat and toxic danger but just bounces a little more and so relieves some of its inner tension and overwhelming angst. They are both gruelling numbers that make up this latter brace and they make sure you don't lose interest before the CD is thoroughly over and done with.
Rabid, a band from the early days, regenerated, re-ignited and already booked on a Fungal show. It goes without saying that this is a good starting point on which to rebuild interest and hopefully the fires that burn can get these guys glowing again and creating a few flare ups here and there. Check em' out - they will hold their own on the old school circuit for sure!
PARA ELITE/TOTAL ANNIHILATION - BATTLE ON
On Skinflint Music this split CD sees me faced with reviewing 2 bands that I haven't heard before (yippee) and trying to assess as stand alone units and as complimentary components on the said release - not always an easy task. Para Elite come from Los Angeles, California and play a machismo induced Patriotic American Oi apparently with all influences on show and in your face. Total Annihilation come from Denver, Colorado, and in truth follow a similar ethos to the aforementioned band with a proud boast of politically incorrect leanings - I am guessing I know what I am getting here, I just hope the bands are prepared for what they might get back - Fungal won't shy away from the truth tha' knows.
So, to the first crew, Para Elite, and their opening gut spill of 'Battle Cry' a hard fought sweat pit of constipated straining that is a difficult to digest slab of posturing pain. For me this opening session on the sonic shitter is far too hot-roasted, way to taut and overly laboured with all components very much in need of a speed-inducing laxative. It is of course a sole viewpoint, as that is what reviewing ultimately is, and however much I take the objective and subjective stance I am sure many will be in disagreement with my sentiments. The mix is choice, the ingredients there to sniff but that darn tempo is not what the Doctor ordered at this most early juncture. 'Don't Wanna Hear' follows up on very clean cut and crisp guitar strokes that suggest something almost militarised. The routine is kept mid paced, just slightly upping itself from that opening fail and also emphasising itself with a more upbeat riff that assists the vocalist in relaxing more and having his vocal style buoyed by the stick and string swing. A fair effort and just moving up the scale of quality, I hope this ascent continues.
'Hang The Banker' is mid-paced yet again with a rock and roll undervibe blending with the grimaced gobbage and skipping skin work. The pre-chorus sticks fall into line and lead us into a basic but pleasantly involving chorus chunk that gives the song an extra dimension. Tidy work throughout with aggression kept on the leash. 'Patriot' is served up next and commences with a real taut muscularity that is emboldened by the hefty drum manipulation and the oral straining that almost pushes the perspiration out through the speakers. One expects a full on explosive burst but it never comes, the band instead rely on the simmering thermality and an utterly slow pulverising approach delivered with totally blinkered desire. An intense number and readily devoured with the acceptant throat more than a little scorched - it's my own fault! The final cutlet from the Para Elite is scarred with the named of 'Skinheads' a construct that cockily strides in, struts its sanguine stuff with old fashioned Oi and shoots its brutal mouth off with passionate pride and patriotic spirit. The song celebrates one part of the skinbo ethos and leans towards the violent side that has great belief in the flag. Having a distinct dislike for flags of all kinds and the divisions they create I am out of sync here but this Condemned 84 cover is as good as its original if not slightly better and will undoubtedly create a bold camaraderie within the sub scene. I like the song even though the lyrics are disagreeable and recognise that early stomping sound so many of us enjoyed without attempting to be of so politically correct. One for the ones in the pack - many will hate it - fuck em'.
Total Annihilation next and the first song goes straight for the jugular and will divide the pig bastards everywhere right down the middle. 'In Bed With...' throws back many arguments into the mugs of the more left-ish crowd with many a question posed from where the band are firmly placing their feet. An antagonistic approach that, in this world of free speech, needs to be taken so as to clear the air and leave one knowing where they are at. The song is a hard driven cunt with sharp turns of the blade and much testing mouthwork that does the business but...it will be the lyrics that will obviously decide the day and both disagreeable parties will become further entrenched over this one I reckon (and why not). 'Death Of A Nation' is more of the same with forthright malevolence aimed at the 'invasive' outsiders and those who are deemed to take the work of the home-based. Pertinent and current news that needs addressing although the use of some slanderous terminology is not the way to go about it. The song is a beefy blitz that kicks doors open and bares its balls on the table and you can't ask for nothing more. The bass is a delight and the overall weighted package impressive but again you have a dividing number many will use as a tool for certain self-gain. Me, well I think all bigotry and inbred opinions based on hate rather than thought are pointless and utterly defeating and that goes to all factions. I won't be told what to say and do, I'll put my bit in and let ye discuss - transparency is always the best way. In summing up - a bold song with testing lyrics - go chew.
The next song is blatant, screws in with violent madness and primitive thought processes that dig up the most basic of instincts and get the noggin nodding. 'Puttin' The Boot In' is goon squad powerpunching and ideal for those who want to punch hell out of like-minded twats. As long as they keep it to themselves then why not, does no harm does it? The song is a thoroughly fist flying affair and lacks any cultured nuances or exhibitionist showcasing but remember, many of punk foundations are found here and the many of yesteryear used to love this stuff. It has its place as long as it isn't taken to the innocent - think on! 'Scene Slut' is a nasty piece of swagger aimed at one and many liggers and lickers out there who palm off interest and pure noise loving ethics so as to worm their way into the inner circles and get it into the private quarters of the so-called names. Usual fare, nothing really thrilling going on and just a straight ahead number that is played tight and falls into the shadows of its more obnoxious comrades. 'Criminal Invasion' throws itself in and full stops the CD with more 'on the cusp' political raving that calls for locked doors and utter segregation with the same sinewy backdrop of sound making for a no-nonsense delivery. Hard fought stuff and a platform to air one's views - isn't that what punk was all about? Like it or loathe it - the choice is yours.
Musically agreeable, lyrically disagreeable (in part) but overall a CD that will sit in many collections of a certain ilk and get played to buggery by the ones in the niche. I can take or leave this noise but the more preaching parts will sway me not one jot in my views and in fact when taken in overdose amounts may cause resistance. There ya go, check out the produce, say your bit, create transparency and for fuck's sake - Think!
LITTERBUG - RUNNING ON EMPTY
Blackpool quick fix popster punkoids with a realisation that noise needs to be to the point, without fuss and fairly swift. The band have done close to 9 years on the block and it has been some time since I last reviewed any shizzle from em' - it's about time I did some more so I'll crack on sharpish and see what this sextet of sonica holds.
The opener and 'Petrol Situation', engine on, rumble, gear shift and a swift slice of alterno abstraction via a chorus on the precipice. The wheel is harshly turned, we are thrown over a cliff edge as mania takes control and distorted blues and larynxal tears come in tantrumised torrents of suicidal terror. The tones are wonderfully harsh, excitingly urban and despite words to the contrary there is certainly no lack of fuel in the tank here. A well travelled number with energy abounding throughout and getting the CD off on a somewhat cantankerous start. 'Stupid! Stupid!' slipstreams, casually creeps inward, suggests a moment to lay back with but after a pulsation the guitars twang twat in uneven fashion before the slightly out of kilter gob trespasses and contributes to a shaking and quaking sub-merry hell that smacks of a song that is totally untrustworthy and destined to keep one on red alert mode. At first the schizoid-slant and somewhat disjointed aspect confounds but with time charms, albeit in a very awkward way.
'Anaphylactic' crisply enters, stands back and trundles along on lo-fi orchestration with a hurtful edge throughout borne from a soul tortured and on the brink of a sickening meltdown. The melodic strain is spastic and shuddering with inner limbs flailing and the odd blackout moment causing concern. The crew sail on though and in a confused seizure froth and foam with vigour and bring something to the table similar to normality. A cover next, one from the vaults of The Pixies, a strange semi-druggoid offering that floats in special nebularity and emits a certain detachment from life and gives the feeling of 'on the outside looking in'. No sooner have we donned these raiment’s of relaxation and separation than we are dragged back to a certain reality with the chorus heavily impacting the head and shaking out an unadulterated jump to attention. Two colliding aspects, boom banging and creating much fuss about something with the end result a song of polar thrusts that help shift the listeners ass into realms of agreement.
'Listen To The Radio (I Don't Wanna)' tunes in, comes from the wired box on quirked airwaves that strip themselves down and re-garb in rags of submersed slants that avoid blatant adherence to punks in built regulations (now that's what I like). There is a distinct feel of de-synchronisation here, a chassis of sound definitely on a rattle down route and held together with pure DIY tape - some would says its the work of slack hands, I say its the work of people not willing to get involved in over elaboration. Whatever - it works and has much ramshackle appeal. 'It's Not Funny' closes the cage of the cacophonic beasts and gives us one last gnashing critter to assess. A spasmodic jerk runt this, with tangled acoustic hair, an epileptic wagging tail and eyes glazed over with sub-madness. Great uncertainty permeates the orthodox tuneage and much cross-wired clashing excites the taste buds with many chug/pull the rug implosions included to keep you off balance. Litterbug pick up their brushes and scrawl the canvas with obscure strokes - it all helps in the identification process.
A neat little off hand band here and continuing were they left off the last time I heard them. The only failing I can come across after listening to this is that I haven't had them grace a Fungal show - it seems as though I need to correct this terrible, offensive oversight.
ANIMAL TRAIN - SAVAGE ENRAGED
You know, sometimes I get to a point where I review so many CD's from one band that I feel a full on introduction isn't necessary. So, as a result you can go and fuck yourself up the arse if you think I am scribbling another spoon-feeding session here, enough is enough. This is the 8th offering I have assessed from this ever improving outfit and if you ain't clued in as of yet then I suggest you fuckin' well wake up and sniff the produce. So without further ado, I go in and rely on your spiked attitudes to do the rest, if not, then you have my deepest sympathy as you are obviously already dead from the neck up.
Away we go and 'Head Of The Master' insists on attention with recognisable tones and riffed desire before the she-demon spurts up her throated bitchiness and the instrumentalists cut a dash with relished rhythm and unified direction. As per, Animal Train don't fuck about and this is a more than adequate start (especially for the fans). Darker tones are driven forth next with 'Passion Confusion' a really emotive sense wrecking number constructed on incessant drillings and somewhat disillusioned and defeated oral acceptance. The gears of the guitars are kept grinding whilst the skin work is regulated and adds to that unending woodpeckering repetition. A gnawing number that, when played on repeat, will bite right down to your crumbling bones - a solid and resonating chunk of opposition to the opening belt - just what the quack ordered.
Next up and a real choice article of unexpected pop punk pleasure with the bubbled and troubled fizzer known as 'Solitary Confinement', a sweet short burst of unhindered tension relieving done in the most simple terms and head cracked modus operandi with the final yell out revealing the inner turmoil of the tetchy frontman - I like it. Onto 'Open Grave' next, a swift effort that scatter blasts through the verses and articulately staggers and stages through the chorus butt kicks. A slant here that shows the band can hurtle with the best of them and retain a clarity along the way whilst foaming at the jaw and letting off a more than acceptable amount of sweaty steam. 'Please Stop Talking' continues the barrage with incessant pressure pushing and goes from hot to searing with no drop in temperature in between. Very little needs saying about this track only that when you compare it to the bands earlier stuff you can see a pattern stuck to but you can also appreciate the increase in the wealthier sound and more compacted energy - good to know. 'Zero Gravity' has less intensity, has much inner confidence, holds up the simplicity factor but injects a firmer source of determination and drills with a greater certainty of achieving adequate depths. Vocally as sure footed as ever, musically as gnawing as expected - it is a combination I do like although I insist they pour in more and more alternatives like track 3.
'Wake The Dead' mmmm, a call to rack up the volume perhaps. This song is a funky strutter and again shows what the band can do if they step outside their own sonic circle and just...dabble. Some temper is bared, some funky grooviness had, a whole lot of pleasure is taken - I hold my tongue and step forth into the closing ditty. Hard travelling emergency comes with 'They Don't Trust Us' rattling along with the head down and leaving us with a song that fails to captivate at this late juncture and not leave us with much to chew on. Thank goodness the brakes are hit and a fine orchestrated goosebump affair slides in with texture imprinted a little more deeply and pogoing riffage and acid temper nicely leading to a superb chant of the title. Excellent and the last thrust is easily dealt with and consumed with a smile.
I like Animal Train, they are on my wavelength and they stick at it like rabid mutts with a bone. In essence it is lo-fi noise kept in the yard of the underdog but it has such a conviction and open earthiness it grips my knackers and has my full attention - keep going ye fine progressive crew.
NERVOUS TWITCH - GET BACK IN LINE
The NT unit is a noisy element that always sparks a good spurt of life into this rocked and ragged reviewer and in the 'live' basin they never fail to produce the goods with cute, era driven tuneage that has many gratifying elements loaded with yesteryear innocence and unassuming simplicity. The band have, in my honest opinion, gently proven themselves to be a feisty force to be reckoned with and although it is a few years since I dropped them into a gig (to my embarrassment) they are always in my thoughts and I do need to get em' on a showcase soon so as to get a few more lugs clued in to the special vibromatic delights on offer. Here we have 11 tracks to textually toy with and hopefully grasp the flavour of, no easy task but you know me, spirited and senseless for sounds, here we go then.
'Jonny's Got A Gun' is a precious sonic stone that just nails the repetition factor and has just a wonderful chirpiness in the tonality. Overall I feel there is no need to deliberate on the song - it is wholesome, squeakily fun and has a certain capability that induces a mere frisson of excitement within the scrutinising lug lender - happy days. 'Piece Of My Heart' is a more carefully built number and flows with a certain rigidity in the liquidity with bubbles arising via slap clap enthusiasm and hip encouraging keys that will undoubtedly unlock your restrictions and have you reeling to the rhythm on show. The musical product here is condensed and well saturated and the instrumental burst just glistens with triumph and entrapping sonic sensations, I for one, cannot resist! I love this track and move into the slowly strutted, scummy radioed transistor trickle known as 'Messing With My Head', a very brief crawl cum stagger that isn't a crucial highlight but seems to have a secure place on this 11 track treat. The fact that it is kept terse, alters the tempo and retains the vibration style set help it maintain a foothold and stick into the pack like a fly in the ointment. Not a stunner but not a bummer either - you'll know what I mean when you buy the CD and spin (hint, hint).
Last but one, 'And We Did' (did we), an end of disco slow waltzing number with cleared tables surrounding a lonesome couple moving slowly under the final swirl of lights - in focus, out of focus, all soaked with emotion. In the corner we find one lost soul looking on, pondering what was, what could have been, what in fact...is! The slow fountain of guitar twinkles, the underlying stick and bass tenderness and the float away mouth work all make for a soft, thoughtful number and one can expect the final to be had here. Not so, we have one more, a real counterpunching uplift called 'All Those Crazes And Fads (Have Taken Their Toll) a song, if truth be told, which has a very regular verse that upholds the above average sound but one that doesn't catapult itself to the fore as a remarkable inclusion to gush over. But, the chorus is the key, a magnificent climb into heady cacophonic clouds where only the most select and juiciest of rhythms stay afloat to much adoring acclaim. The verse lays the foundations with its thirsty desire but that fluidity, lo-fi lusciousness and 100% energetic naturalness of the chorus has me reeling to the triumphant celebration of sound that just delights the soul. For small moments like this I live and breathe, it is the reason why my inner sonic spirit has so much desire - Nervous Twitch I thank you!
That's it - a band I have followed since day dot and have enjoyed no end. Here we have some quite remarkable occurrences and rather than keep spouting off about the vibes I’ll let you just follow my advice and get up to speed with this band – go on, you'll love it!
URBAN DOGS - SELF-TITLED
I have all the Urban Dogs releases and in truth pretty much love their stuff. Over the years the sporadic titbits from this multi-faceted sideline have showcased a wide and interesting variety of tuneage revealing much of the players passions and overall discordant desires. The two consist maestros at the helm have been the well versed punk rock perverts Charlie Harper and Knox, wise and sonically sagacious the input is always destined to be thoughtful. So, rather than dwell on an intro further (that really isn’t the necessity) I shall speed it up and plunge with swiftness into this 2 track single.