FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 30
 
 

BLACK LIPS - SATAN'S GRAFFITI OR GOD'S ART

Lots to get through here, a lengthy burst from a band with DIY ethics and who plough out their produce from the US location of Georgia.  The essences arising are mixed, from New York earthiness and early rhythmic rawness to an experimental freedom that dabbles with hippification and petal powered drifting.  It is a choice mix, an array of acoustic facets that come and go in the twinkling guitar twang.  There are some definite 60's rock and roll rummages that come to the surface and suggestions of sub-folk to suck on - all good for the sonic soul don't ya realise!

'Overture: Sunday Morning' is a lazy intro that beckons and charms but is no sooner in than out and making way for the power striking madness of 'Occidental Front', a galloping montage of nerve jangling distortion escaping from stables but orthodox and yet more reckless. An indulgent whip along that sees the riders of the rhythm lash the ass of the musical mares and journey into the flames of pseudo-madness.  It is a high flaring commencement that sets a good standard and has sturdy sonic steel within the construction.  The more crisp and semi-crumbling creation known as 'Can't Hold On' wins greater favour due to its artistic texture, raw-boned feel and...most importantly...its attracting vulnerability.  The sufferance in the lilt, the needy exposure and the natural assault are up my acoustic avenue and I open the door and bid the airwaves welcome. Perhaps the latter end outstays its welcome but I am already convinced so overlook this minor nob niggle.

'The Last Cul De Sac' enters on sanguine tones and serenades its way on a long drawn out mattress of lazy intention with a Dylan-esque folky appeal loafing around on the springs of sonic sedation.  The soporific drawl is perked up by rippled strings and some tambourine twinkles that have me pondering Byrd-esque suggestions - mmm, interesting.  The chaser is 'Got Me All Alone' a slinking back alley cat that weaves through loaded dustbins with swaying haunches and a cool smoking ass.  We are still set to mode 'recline', the only apparent danger is of the band becoming too self-indulgent and hypnotising themselves into a foul stupor.  I am far from keen on this one by the way!  'Crystal Night' is sweet pseudo-calypsotic cascade of discordant dabbling that weaves in with impish cum cheeky dwarf-esque strains.  From something that tugs heart strings, through a grotto-cracked tangent and then back on the emotive tracks of semi-decency.  A nicely floated offering methinks.

A clutch of four are grasped next and dealt with and in I go with the hippy beat 'Squatting In Heaven', a full on soaked through shakedown of condensed sounds that fuzz buzz, self activate and rely on an underbeat of relish and tympanic regularity to drive the general vibrating mush. One to rack up the volume with and following the trailing acidised lights with - are you with me ma'an.  'Interlude Bongos' are just that, with added madness!  I move on and avoid the mental molestation.

A fast five fuck-through next and 'Rebel Intuition' is country bumpkin buffoonery hot-footing on coals of provoking radiance and collapsing in a final heap of self-disgust. 'Wayne' is a strange sonic shitter dripping from heads detached and happy to dip themselves in sub-psychedelic puke-brews were uncertainty and cerebral peril is always at the forefront of the cranium.  'Interlude Elektrik Spiderwebz' is background bullshit that roams around and wastes time - this is definitely not my thing and is a disastrous whinge that grates on the tonal titties.  Oh man, I move on with my nuts safely gathered in!  'We Know' is slanted and off kilter, but only in the slightest way possible.  It is a retro burst full of garish color and moving in a psychedelic haze that will satisfy those flower-power A-heads as well as dabblers in varied tones that caress and corrupt.  'In My Mind There's A Dream', a fairground ride of tormented oddness that goes round and round on a loop of sub-lunatic repetition.  There is a charm here, a hypnotic attraction that is best likened to the feeling one got has a child when entering a seaside gift shop and was in a state of wonder at the cheap and cheerful offerings on display.  There is an innocent simplicity to the tones here, an inoffensive effect and an easy manner that remains approachable.  Not bad!

A 3 way fuck review next and the first to get an assessing penetration is 'Lucid Nightmare', a honky tonk truck along with surfy drums opening the gateway for some cool dude driftings that blow sand up the arse and croon away with baccy chewing roughness.  The sparks generated from the wirework are akin to mental fuses blown and the overall lilt of this one is still on the lunatic fringe.  'Come Ride With Me', is a sleazy groomer who vocally offers an opportunity to go to a place some of the more decent listeners may not wish to tread.  The dirty devils play out a seductive tune and cacophonically kerb crawl with only one intention in mind - to molest ya baby!  The third thrust that comes in this latest batch under the blankets is called 'It Won't Be Long', a song that shimmers in before adopting a great Beatle-ised sing-a-long sensation that swings from the speakers and gets into the most uncomplicated receptors and rocks away bringing sweet, innocent delight.  The influence of the song is blatant, the angle taken obvious but who the fuck cares, this keeps one guessing and adds yet another curveball to a forever arcing CD.

'Losers Lament' is a dragging dirge that glimpses hope but perpetually stays in the doldrums and sticks to the wretched pathway chosen.  The musical input is clockwork, the vocal harmonies reminiscent of a backwoods ministry were boss-eyed yokels croon in unison enjoying one another’s comforting and shared insanity.  Just the feeling I get folks.  Homely and countrified and one to play whilst sitting in your rocking chair, smoking your pipe of craziness and using your spittoon of detachment.  We fuck off with a 'Finale:  Sunday Morning' a brief moment of sheer bizarre roaming - make of it what you will.  And then we were done!

We started as we finished and in between never really got back on the track of sanity.  That is no bad thing, the tested heads of troubled turnips are where many good growths may be found.  This is a wayward product that has many fascinations, some oddments that disturb and a few snippets that cause distress - but it is all food for the ensnared and long may the webs of sound contain me.

   

LOOM - LOOM

A self-titled album sent my way with much sway and gushing words from a variety of sources.  I pay little heed as to stay neutral is the key which will assist in gaining a greater clarity and balance in the end assessment.  This CD came with some on-line bumph, here is the opening snippet:- 'Loom formed through a shared distaste, boredom, and frustration with new music. They recorded and released two cassettes within their first year, the latter being a showcase of their most prominent initial influences – a six-track covers EP of The Jesus Lizard, Bad Brains, Pixies, GG Allin, Misfits, and Warsaw. They felt that it was a necessity to broadcast their intent as a band as aggressively and directly as possible.' Impressed? Me neither - tis the noise what matters.

To commence we have 'Lice' a scurrying fuzz flea that causes cranial disturbance with its disease ridden indified excretions.  The style is to keep the hollerings submerged beneath flaking fungaloid detritus before scraping the scalp of sound and allowing the gob to roar.  All the while and underscore of power-passionate noise thrives and inflames the affected epidermis of the eavesdropper.  This is a very infecting opening gambit with alternative and troubled leanings that are distinctly...grunged.  'Hate' almost proves the bands restless disgruntlement and refusal to play happy people before the first note is struck.  What does come is an off centre carousel ride within a fairground of rising distemper.  The rotational rhythm spirals into a chant of passion before cooling down and pondering a certain position. The frame of mind is on the cusp of fucked, a regression threatens to dictate the oral output but the focus is kept, all players are of one accord and we have, to put it pertinently, another damaging track that does impress.  'Get A Taste' has impetus, exposes a fresher feel to the crew’s donations and moves with a pace-persuaded direction.  There are undercurrents of gothic bleakness, overtones of early 80's B-league blow-outs and very much a desire to keep things off the conforming track of hygiene.  This one kicks hardest of the three songs reviewed thus far and upholds a very hefty standard set.  I am so taken, I take a pause from reviewing the CD as a whole and invest some more time in this welcoming hat-trick of discordance.

'Leopard' lung coughs in, briefly chokes before grasping a dirty length of rhythmic rope and throwing it around your neck.  The noose is tightened, the gnawing noise corrupts and as the fibres dig into the resisting neck flesh you will be lucky to fight off the tightening tonality that comes.  A polluted reservoir of liquid gloop enters our attentive channels and runs easily to the pools where appreciation is found - suck it!  'Salt' is a riff friendly fucker that moves with ill grace and soils itself repeatedly with delightful rectal regulations that pulse with passion and stink with a fashion.  A very meaty heave ho this that bulges the pants and causes your neighbours much disgust.  A bowel moving piece that is a loud laxative to encourage self-degradation - go do it, reek of shit man and enjoy!

A run to the finish line and 'Seasick' is a heaving upset of distemper that orally fights against a sickening syrup tide that threatens to drag you into depths untold and trash your enjoyment of the CD thus far.  A disrupting moment that desires fluidity but gets caught up in a disgusting ebb and flow many may find themselves choking on.  It is a dirty swell that moves slowly and spitefully and although not my favourite track it does alter the tempo of the CD which is always crucial.  Fuck corrupting suggestions whisper in before the toxic beauty of 'Bleed On Me' pours from aortal arteries of pumping belief.  That cruddy beat and undeniable lifeblood is tasty nutrition to a soul forever desirous of the next gloried glut and I throw myself into the bloodbath with head-wanked mania.  I have uncovered another zenith here, a power-panther of sound that claws deep and causes a liquid leak of appreciation - maul me baby, maul me. 'Nailbender' cranks up the zeal, metalises matters and spirals with a thirst only quenched by a need to make noise.  This one is dark matter puked from an orifice of Hell-ish inclination and whips itself up into a schizoid frenzy that one moment is controlled, and the next off the leash.  It makes for an interesting listen and throws a new angle into the musical melting pot which is never a bad thing.  I take out my ladle and feed some more!  

The last two you mother fucking scum lovers and at the penultimate stage we get snagged up into the cutting prongs of 'Barbed Wire', a racing dirtball of increasing weight that tumbles with intent so as to gather as much appreciative detritus as it possibly can.  We are the awaiting dross, we are victim to the trampling tonality and as we get attached and dragged we should have no complaint - I know I don't!  The shut down comes, 'Slowly Freezing Heart' is the name of the last blast, a predatory horror chill that moves through gothic curtains on bended knees before rising high in a fascinating body blossom that crescendos in a sonic seed release of gut-wrenching gratification.  From the careful to the carefree, from the wary to the wild and eventually...into a mire of confused disarray.  This last spasm of sonic life brings the CD to a damned and eternally accursed finale and one last shout from the depths is apt and alarming in the same terminating breath. Aaaagggghhhhhh!

Friends, people, cacophonic countrymen - there you have it, another CD dealt with and may I add, what a grand listening experience it was.  Full of hard tones, awash with hurtful resonations and heavy enough to put bruising on the toughest carcass.  My advice here is to strip off and take yer beating with good reason, and hey, enjoy two particular rib-cracking investments that will cause you some wonderful discomfort – there is no other way! 

   

LITTLE LOVE & THE FRIENDLY VIBES - THE SAME, ONLY WORSE

A request came to squeeze this pop pimple by a chap called Martin who had recently joined the band under the spotlight after previous noise-laden stints with 2 fine bands, namely The Plimptons and GUMS.  I had reviewed a lot of material by these bands and was very often tickled by the tonality that poured my way!  Little Love and the Friendly Vibes have sneakily slipped past my wide reaching lugs despite being around since 2011 (oh man there is just so much music to get through) and so I lunge in here quite unblemished and innocently intrigued. So, let us see what these acousticeers from Edinburgh have to offer and let us hope that many a merry old jingle is had.

'Circles' is a communicating gift that hums and fizzles with old school electro-magnetism that is in its own scuzz-fuzz world that I very much enjoy dipping into.  The accented vocal styles have a nervous sub-stutter underlying the delivery through the verses which are allowed to flourish and self-relieve via a brief but subtly potent chorus burst.  The song oscillates with regulated voltage, the semi-mechanical wind up is embracing and the underscore of keyed assistance adds a futuristic edge - very appealing indeed. 'Jealous' is cross-wired poppism that fuses through the airwaves with a delightful resonation that is bittersweet and semi-poignant and reminiscent of many people’s lives when they see someone get all the doors opened for them and bounce from one opportunity to the next.  Luckily I am not wired up this way but can understand the tremblings and this is almost in line with the Undertones ramblings about a rather 'Perfect' cousin who seem to be always the flavour of the month.  A cracking little tickle this with a slight rivulet of irritation throughout - nice!  'High Maintenance' completes the opening trio and combines sobered singing with lashings of 'la, la, la' madness and so gives a real effective contrast that perhaps gives insight into a mental state found in a bedroom dwelling bod who watches the lust worthy girl next door but recognises his limitations within the bouts of lunacy. One can envision the peephole dreamer wishing but taking the easy route and pishing (on his own hopes).  The song is a treat, one for the misfit, the cast aside and the severely uncool.  In fact, this whole collection is for those who have never been in-vogue, will never hit the charts of popularity and who are always found in the kitchen at parties - I know the feeling.

A clutch of three next, laid down in my nest of examination and cracked open on one good burst with the hammer of honesty!  'Team Leader' begins with a Toni Basil piss-take (ooh where is she now) before wretchedly crawling along with a morbid acceptance of a situation not to be envied.  Advice comes, a false chirpiness encourages and all components are enhanced by a wired up escalating chorus that seems liable to end in a fully blown fuse-box.  The attempt to swallow shit and have it stick in the craw is well masticated here and more easily digested by us, the wee listeners.  'Two For One' has an Oi lout intro explosion before the tune takes on a sarcastic pop slant that prods and pokes from a life with very little excitement.  The fact comes across that if these unimaginative retail offers are responsible for moments of unseeming lubricity or untoward rigidity then you really do need to get yourself sorted out.  Find a mirror, take a long hard look and then have a fuckin' word!  When in a better frame of mind then I suggest you pop this crackin' ditty on your player and dance!  'After Hours' is the last of the latest three-way fling (phwoar), has a doleful verse section that is smeared deep with forlorn hopelessness and misery mutterings that are then rescued from the dustbin of depression by a diverging chorus release.  We repeat the black and white formula before hitting an instrumentalised wank off and a final mouth melt that finalises the stress easing burst and takes away any initial reservations this eavesdropper may have had.

'Wound Up' is a fractious fuck elevated on querulous quirky spirals that rise and rise and invoke an unsettled feeling within the assessor’s nervous system.  The jingle-jangle wired wangle coils out and vibrates with marvellous accents and the juicy fruit chorus is both stressful and therapeutic at the same time and is for those who just need to dance away the tendrils of tension that try to choke out the very life force we thrive on.  A simple but beautifully effective song.  Dig those cheap guitar sounds too!  'The Same Only Worse' is trickling tale telling and brings in a sweet mix of male/female oral offerings that are both approachable, rich and coloured with cobblestone tones.  An old time band get fondly remembered and get inspired to produce something similar but with no pretension to outdo - how ruddy lovely is that?  I have no gripes here, it is a sugary switch off to laze with.

'Terri, Terri' is a nob-nagging wanker that rubs with consistent, unstoppable rhythm and eventually produces pre-cum enthusiasm before the shaft of sound turns bloody red and climaxes in a short, brief spurt.  We are not left flaccid at the final stage but are still in need of another injection of Mr Big's sound stiffener.  I replay many times just to get the gist, not because I have leanings that are perverse.  Next and the cutey-pie jerk of 'Awkward'.  A funny little song this with abstract and surreal thoughts chucked into a washing bowl of popping soapy suds that are swirled with daydreaming distance borne of the head in the fluffy pink clouds.  The snagging sing-a-long ease and the shimmering segments that appeal are all finely accepted.  The penultimate tickle and 'Talk To Me' is a raw track that has a definite under-processed feel and moves along with a distinct linear approach that starts with an end point in mind and travels to it on one straight scuzzy track.  There is a place for this kind of direct DIY dabbling and that place is here - a simple diversion from the more outre inclusions.  We finalise with the sad exposure of 'More Than You Can Stand', an OCD confession that touches a nerve due to the fact  I have suffered from this vicious curse that drains the soul and takes up every minute of every waking hour.  This painful closure is perfectly delivered and pangs and twangs with a deep-rooted insight into a mental aberration many find quite amusing (oh those ignorant bastards).  A lovely trinket of tonality even though it stings a little - nowt wrong with being kept alert.

So, I have been asked, I have responded and hopefully I have hit the nail somewhere on its awaiting head.  This is a charming CD with many qualities to thoroughly recommend.  It is far from harsh clouting punkage, it isn't of any particular ilk but just a good collection of likable ditties to play anytime, anywhere no matter what the mood - and you can't argue with that!

   

PRE-MENSTRUAL TENSION - DON'T STRAY OFF THE PATH

Look here, PMT are a good band, their previous CD floated my sonic boat (SS Fungal, old tug of the turbulent seas) and their 'live' performances are bang on the mark, in fact their last one was the best to date, an absolute sizzler me old fruit.  The front man is a gem, a real good punk pervert who gets up and does it with choice zest and all in all I find this band most ruddy appealing.  Now, this kind of praise is all well and good but what if the CD I have under scrutiny isn't up to scratch, what if a sheer deflation of my throb-o-meter is had and I walk away flat-lined?  Well, the answer is obvious, the text that shall flow and will remain honest, fair and up front - it would be ruddy vulgar not to! And so in I go, let us see what the Bolton based buggers shit from their rhythmic rings and let us hope that this assessor gets soiled in the best possible way - oooh smelly!

Thrutch, squeeze, push and produce - the first turd of tonal desperation drops and I am in like a vagabond on a dropped pasty.  'Thought Police' is an instantaneous pinnacle that oozes with familiar PMT tones and moves with such a butter-smooth ease that one is slipped along into a stance of conviction that this is as good as it feels.  The abrasive sandpaper of the wire work wears away, the regimented tympanic work and the gruff yet lucid gob donations all combine and attain the greatest loftiness when the sing-a-long magnetism of the chorus manifests itself. The kick back at the mental controllers who are seemingly everywhere is gratifying and the under-simmer of irritation is honey on my attentive soul - lovely.  The follow-up doesn't have the winning worm of rhythm to attract the early attentive bird of the bonse but grows gradually pecks away at any uncertainty and asks many questions.  The cut of 'Don't Stray Off The Path' is acidic and skewering with a direct driving regimentation that hits a certain level and sticks to it with incessant stubbornness.  The song lacks flamboyance, stays clear of frilly weavings and so lacks any instantaneous magnetism.  The song does cultivate interest with increasing rotations but it isn't the early winner needed to keep the standard high.  'Known' is better, it yomps along with a swollen chest of belief and after an early warning siren, a grooved move of guitars the mouth work roars in and spits and snarls its message above the usual tonality of the music with a complete sanded down formula used and then sharpened so as to cut to the core and make a lasting impression.  A good effort indeed this one!

'Same Crime' is the next posting and leaves the blocks ablaze as a fast-footed break for musical mayhem is taken.  The wired-up leanings and the cutthroat swashbuckling of the tune carve directly into the heart of the flesh and the band have a certain theme going on here that they seem loathe to leave.  Good regular nourishment but nothing new under the PMT sun.  'Free Toys' bowls in and has greater weight and more bat clattering kaboom.  The acoustic arm is swung, the delivery is as direct as ever with no verbal spin and no unnecessary toss.  The bouncing pace and the inner drift off that riffs and pogoes duly drills deeper in the turf of your attention and awaits your instinctive response.  I concentrate on the incoming sphere of sound and swing out my response - thwack, good bowling sir, good bowling indeed.  Next and a favourite of mine, a real driving bugger that is built on the most basic of ingredients - disgust, disillusionment and...anger.  A steel-capped boot, mad as hell thrash along this that knocks the teeth out of the bullshitting deniers and killjoy fuckwits who douse your energy, deaden your life.  Fuel is being burnt at a hefty rate here and perspiration is being poured by the 'fuck-it' load - I like that, my applause ring out as well as the timeless phrase of 'get yer penis out', ooh I do get worked up!

Into the final four 'Flag Of Your Convenience' stutter shits and then propels itself forward with sniping passion at another on-line fiasco that grips the balls of the ego players and has them spunking insincerity left, right and rarely centre.  The zest is forever high, the stomping yodelling alternates between acidic and aggressive and whilst the front lout lathers himself up the instru-'mentalised' players provide a squeezing sensation of sound.  Nice!  The inner plod may be slow and steady but is as sharp in its intention as the rest of the delivery.  'Virus' gobs off, trundles and courses with the bass and skins dictating the main infecting strain.  There are no genuine highs, no real lows, this is a straight forward cutlet of steamrolling with cooler contemplative moments dissecting the flow - make of it what you will. Paranoia and suspicion dictate methinks.  'Kinky Killer' is a seedy crawler with a relish for devious action and a need to throttle out more than just a radiant response.  The pace is predatory and pre-planned, the descriptive horror borne from minds who dwell too much and have obviously considered the vocalised corruption they seem highly aroused by.  This one is a sneaking grower, a sonic smoke that drifts beneath your door of consciousness and invades your attentive nostrils and thus intoxicates your entire carcass - is this a good thing?  Book me a cell mother - I may need it!

The last burst and 'You're All Punks' tweaks in, sonically states its case and fucks off. The message resonates deep - too many self-appointed rule makers and 'punk as fuck' empty heads who haven't a clue and those that do need to just get on and defy the drivel.  Lyrically this a sound effort, musically I am left a little flat (a bit like one of the bands 'after show' blow up dolls).  Look, these things happen and no matter how much I respect the band and like their shizzle this one doesn't activate my soul - bah, bugger, bum, tit!  I leave it there!

Despite the last dry fart I do like PMT, it feels good and that is from the gob of a bloke (sexy hey).  The band have a forthright approach that has served them well thus far and all they need to do now is take one or two risks and dabble outside their own tight box - oh and accept the fact that their lead singer has the longest anal hairs in punk rock - it is nowt to be ashamed of.

   

WITCHING WAVES - FEAR OF FALLING DOWN

Oddbox Records have been quiet of late it seems but here they deliver a re-issue of an album that is quite sought after in the right sub-circles of sonic perversion.  Originally released on Soft Power Recordings in 2014 this album is now seen as a bit of a rarity so those with a desire to possess and play have a new opportunity to grab the vibes via a Black and White splatter vinyl edition  on a run of just 300 copies.  Here goes my take on matters and how I see the music being taken by the musical masses (what a set of bastards they are).

First and 'Fear Of Falling Down', a song that begins with a most excellent trash can guitar thrust that pushes us into the murky disaffected dirge of the offering proper. From here voices rise from lo-fi basements where cerebral trouble counterpunches against any hope of fantastical escapism and we are pulled along on a treadmill of reality that is both bleak, stark and very tangible.  Something of the Division of Joy rises from the grim ashes and when combined with the DIY debris that covers the whole sonic shebang and the dirty, underscrubbed persistence that finally staggers to its demise then, I am all intrigued.

'Cold Out' preserves the basics, keeps the temperature cooled and the innocent accents pure.  From subtle shades of light and dark comes a chiaroscuro portrait that appears naive but has artistic elements brush-woven into the mix that indicate something attractive.  Those whispered she slips, the clear and natural he inclusions and the light glinted guitars are all kept on their toes by a deliberate tub thump and persuading bass line - not a bad cut at all methinks.  Next and 'Better Run' has a summer fresh feel blown through with escapist desires borne of tickers desirous of a peregrination to pastures more pleasurable.  This easy gliding effort is a real sweeping pleasure and has a unaffected simplicity that it takes no deep thought or stretched patience to enjoy. One can just hang in the waft of the rhythm and be caressed by something quite unblemished and...subtly fragrant - oh aye!

And so forth...onto the fifth!  'Counterpoint' has a firm foundation that is reliant on one path and never strays, never wanders but keeps its head down and glides along a furrow that succeeds through the fact that all components are sky blue clear and wafted with such care as to be quite mesmerising.  There isn't a whole lot of sonic chicanery going on here and so I constantly wonder why I am drawn to the somewhat hippy-child floatings - quite against the grain it is but I ain't complaining.  'Concrete now jumps into line with that which has passed and stays reclined, mixes the his and hers oral ingredients and swirls in an acoustic dish of the most delicate bone-china.  The work poured into making the end melodic meal is noticeable but the crew do it in such a nonchalant manner as to be almost hidden from aural view.  An underscore of melancholy adds character but doesn't clog the airways of appreciation and one is allowed to nod along to this DIY ditty without feeling pressured.

A bit of 'Creeping' next and a minor lull that sees us hit a moment that almost disappears into the pack.   Thankfully the players add some cutting chomp and strike their weapons of war with a trifle more authority.  The essence moves away from that which is deemed fragile and gives us a splash of sound to makes us paddle harder so as to keep up with the current set.  I feel I am against the flow here but cut water with determination and come up with a final verdict of...one to ponder further!  'News' begins the final wind-down with a quirked tangent-esque chop along done with factory-fied efficiency and an almost automaton cold and calculated efficiency.  Produced from a mechanism of a 'matter of fact' situation with a blank eyed tribalistic outlook one gets slightly frost-bitten by.  The warming zephyrs of the earlier tracks are lost and replaced by a disarming draught that raises slightly offended pimples of the goose.  I am very unsure here and the stiff, unwelcoming emanations and just overall ramshackle warehouse feel leaves me...distanced.  I move on before getting my knickers in a twist or caught on a malfunctioning component - ouch!

The last two, 'Wait Around' is slightly grimed, industrially polluted and of a down-winding that produces the odd ray of hope whereas 'Barber' hops back to a modus operandi that started this CD and has sub-sections that chop and chomp with direction inter-blended with switched out, slightly distracted segments that create opposition. Both tracks retain the theme acquired, have that innocent and underprocessed edge many of us seek out and get off on - I really shouldn't complain.

An Oddbox offering that has much character, a slicing work that avoids using gaudy applications and vulgar persuasiveness to win applause.  The regimented route stuck to is in some ways restricting and in others applaudable - this will do for now but for the next release the band need to infect their output with counter-colliding ingredients that will shake up the whole shebang.  Until then though, get back to zero folks!

   

THEE VICARS - DON'T TRY TO TELL ME

From Bury St Edmunds this toxic but tuneful gathering of like-minded musicians comes my way and for the second time I am requested to deal with the din.  The output is what I expect it to be and maybe what you expect it to be too or, if you are still a virgin and haven't tasted the spillage, you won't know what the fuck is going to come/cum.   I am going in with prior knowledge, here is my take.

'Don't Try To Tell Me' chops in on a clashy stroke full of throb-o-matic jumping bean vigor.  The screwed up, disconnected wire warblings are off the cuff, wanked up on high and zested to the max with crack-fuck angularity.  This is a number built on nervous energy and constantly hops along with an enthusiasm not to be denied.  The repetition of the rhythm is one that will induce a spasmoid response and before you know it you will be on the dance floor seizured up and soaked in sweat.  Something both loose cannoned and self-destructive lies beneath the upper strata of sound and the short running time is merely icing on the cake for all those with the attention span of gnat.  A solid A-side and one not to flip too soon.

'Why Have You Changed' is the reverse side donation and is a troubled truck of spilling contents that hits a rocky road and trundles along with an untrustable attitude that upsets the eavesdropping gut.  I play several times, eventually get used to the tonal travel sickness and happily sit back and get my inner puddings souped.  I have heard better by this band, I feel the crew have more to offer than this but the wild and loose weavings attract me nonetheless and so I sign off...entertained.

A nice real rocking band this, full on with juicy fruit desire and happy to splat spray this way and that!  I look forward to the next upchuck with tightened gonads - I do have my funny ways!

   

WREN - AUBURN RULE

The Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) is a small bird that mooches around in shrubbery and makes one hell of a noise for such a little creature. Wren the band are an outfit who have remained hidden in the acoustic undergrowth of ye olde London Town but have suddenly appeared on the Fungal radar and hit home with a trying racket. The style is sludgy and rocked up to the rafters and after several rotations of the raping discordance I attempt to textually twat out something akin to an accurate review.

'In Great Yield' is the first gob-off and grinds the gears with a scuzzy advancement of turgid, corroded and fucked up guitar mechanisms that eventually find a glint of light and then slowly ambles towards it.  This is an arthritic mammoth of a song, struggling to rise from a shit filled swamp that holds many elements of clogging and cloying life-forms. Each attempt to break free from the sludge is a sincere strain and over the course of 6 minutes and 44 seconds we find ourselves increasingly exhausted.  Glutinous grinding, head numbing insistence and a moment in my listening journey that will soon be forgotten.  Not for me this, way too suffocating and overly intense in an irritating kind of way!  I am sure there are many stoners out there in need of a further sonic saturation - oh those deviant buggers.

The second development comes under the banner of 'Scour The Grassland' and is a song of the damned.  A damnation that is eternal, strangulating and without apology. The roars from the catacombs are without hope, the desperation stark and tangible with the unforgiving black lava holding all victims firm and forever searing them into spasms of maddening pain.  The whole orchestration of this number is bleak and despite the inner respite, the suggestion of something musical and the final silence things still fail to dilute the end terror.  My question is 'who the fuck gets off on this schizzle'?

'The Herd' comes next and is a piece of labouring tunery that is constantly impeded, permanently dragging its blooded heels and consistently walking headlong into a driving rainfall of black blood needles.  There is no pleasure, no daylight, no golden future here - dwellers in the perverse tar pit of anguish will wank off to this, those on the perimeter may have the odd hard on and the rest who are further away from the perversion will be repulsed - can you guess where I am at?

'Traverse' is another muscle pull that perspires like a pig in a butchers shop, like a corpse in the hands of Jimmy Saville and no matter how much one tries the wretched climate, the feeling of dread and the inescapable pull of a 'black dog' situation is numbing.  Again, somewhere around the middle of the escapade we have a moment of respite, this time though it is like a minor-death that sees all components nearly shut down and breathe their last - fuck this is heavy man, heavy.  I move on to the finale.

'Dwellers Of The Sepulchre' is graveyard shambling conducted by zombies of decadence whom roam with a blind will and fumble through lung-cramping mists that reek of decay, abandonment and...obsessed perversity that will see no change in style anytime soon.  I am sickened into submission at this point, down on my knees with the heavyweight mass of morose and malevolent music that is dripping my way and I leave this one with one simple summing up - 'ditto'.

I tried, I tested, I turned away and failed to triumph.  I am holding my thumbs down here and can't give this CD anything more than a verdict of 'one for the sub-scene dwellers'.  Strictly generic and drawn out to irritate my punked up patience, sorry chaps, I do try my best but there ya go.

   

SAVE THE EMBERS - EMBERS AND ASHES

Melodic hardcore from Germany here, an accurate bout of blowing belligerence that needs much time from this Fungalised Fruit as it pounds with much fluster and bluster and has many layers that appear to need a good old peeling.  It is a CD I got from the kind bods at Deadlamb Records, a good label with a good ethos and an undying spirit (take note).  Right, no time to flap my wings, no time to scratch my sphincter - in I throw my all, striving to sum things up as best as I possibly can.

The CD opens with 'Let It Go' and 'Everett', and after a brief unified holler, a crunch of the wires and a stick military trundle the songs explode into pastures of power with a swift trenchant tonality borne of schools of sound from the more modern era.  What stops this opening double ended burst from becoming a technical convolution many twanging twats seem to get drawn into is the fact it has a direction based on focus, harsh heaving and with an 'all for one' aspect that real appeals to the punk ticker.  The band exhibit a cohesion and impermeable accent that will cross the cacophonic boards and draw in many sonically sozzled spiked heads to the overall foray.  The hungry gobbage, the barbed and tautly pulled weavings have me sitting up and preparing for what else is to come.  A good opening and into track 3 I plunge with 'From Red To Grey' starting with subdued tones before ascending higher, finding a balance and then letting go with a full throttle roar fest that blazes with an incandescent heat not to be denied.  The power arrangement is tight, the tangents subtle, the desire blatant and so, after many rotations I am erecting my thumbs here and appreciating the robust and talent-ridden offering that blows with good effective force.

'Day By Day' quickly tub rolls, twinges forth and then hot-roasts along with continued thermality borne from the previous ditty.  My concerns of another repeat trick are banished as the crew move through a more spacious moment that exposes contrast and takes us into different realms.  The vibe is positive, the lyrical content equally so and urges that you get up, do and avoid a life of idle apathetic pointlessness.  I appreciate that!  Onwards and '14th Of Five' follows the set trend, creates a storm and lets fly with many elements.  The collection of colliding and complimentary corruptions bounce around within a tight kernel of musical goodness with the inner nut of noise loaded with flavours that take time to be fully appreciated.  The animation within this offering and the unifying moments that are interspersed with soaring releases of majestic insight all reveal a unit very much on form and nailing what they set out to achieve.  Combustible, oozing potential and still with a chance of crossing the sub-scene bridges of restriction - here's hoping!

A fast batch of 3 sees me tackle 'Benchmarks', a song that skewers in, unravels with grace, set a scene and then gallop to the encouraging shouts and vigorous bounce of the commanders at the helm.  Again the recipe contains many acoustic herbs and a single toss around the palate will not suffice.  Over and over one must roll the rhythms and finally make a decision. Patience is tested and that may be the only drawback but, other than that...the band do what they do mighty well, albeit more of a particular ilk it seems. 'Crawl' follows the set route but doesn't seem to have any regularity and just wanders in to many directions for its own good.  Musically the band are testing themselves and that is no bad thing but they must understand that this will leave some eavesdropping 'erberts behind in their wake.  I am one of those and even though I sense the usual precision this one fails to tickle the chuff.  'The Infeasible' operates inside a box, kicks off the lid and eventually resonates with warning slant.  The pulsations wors, the harmonies live, the tweaks and twangs are non-too hindering and as the development of the discordant comes and the embryo blooms into a finished product one is applauding yet more clinical control - have it!

The last 3 and 'Associated Sidekicks (Friends For Life)', 'My Great Revelation' and 'Homecoming' all add cream to your hefty cake of yum-scrum cacophonic listening and if you have liked your episode of melodic mastication thus far you will finish on a veritable high here.  Personally I think the first song fucks around too much, flushes itself down too many U-Bends and delays the point it is trying to make.  I am sure many good comrades will embrace the sound and each other but I just ain't having this one. The second cut throws initial punches from all angles before finding its focus and jabbing and jarring in good equal measure.  The final fling is serious shit with uproar and belting riffage all throwing itself headlong into an already fractured wall that has taken a serious kicking over the length of this clinical CD.  At this stage you are either in or out, silent or ready to shout - I am a mere reviewer trying to capture something elusive.

A tidy band this who certainly put the hours into delivering their work. The touches of the Front that claim to be Agnostic are many, the strict skater essences and Epitath-esque nuances noticeable but hey, there ain't nowt original and if a band do it well you gotta tip your titfer - how's that!

   

LOD - FOLDER

From the ashes of post-punk blew assorted debris and detritus that came to be piled up in various nooks and crannies where disconsolation, distress and a desire to rise against the grain seemed the only possible option.  Under pencil grey skies that leaked polluted needles of hopelessness many experimental creators were borne, here we have such a gathering.  A coming together of Danish minds with a need to stretch their own boundaries and that of anyone passing by with a cacophonic curiosity that is forever restless.  The accents are from industrial deserts where urbanity has devoured itself and left something naked and very cold.

We begin with the unrushed, unapologetic 9 minute 11 second loop of 'Så Blå', a persistent exposure of copulating and corrupting minimalism that beckons the listener forth and requests that the dusty plains of dereliction be trespassed upon and...considered.  From that which is ruined and left to neglect comes a glimmer of promise and the band do well to intertwine the limbs of the abandoned and that which resists temptation to curl up and die.  The components that crawl to mind whilst listening to this opening rotation are of sub-gothic innocence and a certain early 80's sub-alternativeness which was played out in smoke ranked back clubs to the generic underflow and pseudo-fashionable misfits.  There is much character here and when the final winds come we are left far from disappointed.  Don't misunderstand me, the band could do more and maybe embolden their output over a shorter running time but here they do just enough.

'Træder ind, bukker, bukker' is a shorter track and is an instrumental fountain set to pace 'average' and coming up with a spray of sound that is in some ways soothing, in others aching with ominous sub-texts that dampen any ray of cerebral sunshine one may have cultivated.  The accursed liquid plume turns from tantalisingly transparent to subtly threatening and for me the mix may appear quite simple but there is a certain amount of thoughtful craft poured in.  I skip on here with little else to add.

'Fælled' pseudo funks, repetition fucks before opening up oral airwaves and giving a worshipful chant to all things seemingly horrified, scarred and of a sable intent.  The spasms of idolisation become damaging, the muscle wrenches and hip thrusts screw more than just the mind of the bewitched and as sweat production is increased, grey matter devastation multiplies and severance of certain decencies is committed the end result is almost unholy.  Within the twirling coils of black silk we get enshrouded, and therein we may be converted and ultimately, suffocated.  The summons to the Satanic is created, the flesh creeps, your turn has come!  The final respite is an insult!

'Folder' hops into the line of mis-beat with a math rock wank off almost sending one into realms of suicidal contemplation.  This nerve shredding closure is 8 minutes 30 seconds of testing tonality sporadically whipped up and forever teasing one into the belief that dramatic change is afoot.  Change does come but it is gradual and far from sensational and although the musical application is clean, accurate and very efficient there is an overabundance of rhythmic replication that sends me down into the refuse tip of despair - a shame because there are many fine aspects to the input.  Ah well, there ya go folks.

A polished unit with a scrubbed up end product that is more art than pleasure, more theatre than quick musical masturbation.  There is a place for this kind of advanced experimentation but it won’t be making a regular appearance on my turntable anytime soon.  Each to their own as they say (whoever they are).

   

PAUL HENSHAW & THE SCIENTIFIC SIMPLETONS - FISHING FOR OWLS

I once went fishing for owls.  It was hard work and only when I disguised my penis as a Short Tailed Vole did I achieve anything resembling success. Mind you, the crown of my cock is still talon-scarred and I still have nightmares regarding homosexual Tawny Owls and large weaponed bats - I blame it on eating too many beetroots but there ya go!  Anyway to the review and the band under the spotlight are from the shit-stained shanks of Shrewsbury and plough out a sound they describe on their FB niche as 'DIY Riot Folk' - now that sounds intriguing.  There are 10 tracks of thoughtful produce to ponder here and so I down my hunting gear and set about shooting down some words of honesty and hopefully decent critique - it is a testing task as per.

The first flap of sonic wings is known as 'Middle Finger Thank You', a very professional sounding cutlet from the arse end of the acoustic carcass where many shit lumps of pointless gristle are had.  This is a progressive effort exuding forethought and a desire to create a construction that has depth and...a most important asset...longevity.  Many bands overlook this aspect of noise creation but here we seem to have a unit who are avoiding the quick and easy route and looking to test themselves and their listeners.  Perhaps in some respects overly done are the convolutions, in others definitely not the case - I wave a flag of initial success and feel firm in my opinion.  'Wild Turkey' folks it up and is a country pub fiddle of warming resonations that will appeal to the dreaming drifter who wants to crack on rather than dawdle and wants to shake of the shit-slaggers and concentrate on things that matter.  Life needs constant attention and the more you try there is always someone extra wanting to drag you back. My advice, take heed here, fuck the doubters and down-shouters and amble along doing your bit with a good heart.  I love this little fireside toe and ticker warmer and play in the belief that my arse is well and truly in gear.

'Stones' moves in with romantic textures borne of misted lochs and dusky glades.  The string skip comes, the vocal admission of weakness is defied by the robustness of the puritanical tones and from hopeless realms of wilderness comes tendrils of hope one may clutch on to.  This is a very articulate bout of musicianship that blends folk and DIY to a very exacting standard that puts the pressure on the rest of the CD.  'You Really Just Want To Be Me' is a beautifully written acoustic article concerning self-belief and the acceptance of ones warts, wrinkles and failings and just getting on with things and defying the fashion victims and those who must jump in line to trends and standards - silly fuckers.  A totally satisfying song this that glides over the aging framework and leaves a feeling of certainty that all is not lost and that if we cling on and never say die the future will feel a whole lot brighter.  Fuck them doubters and spineless down shouters - jealous jerks they be!

Next 2, 'Hometown King', and after appeasing a desire to count in colours and shapes a fuzzy thrust is kept brushed up and moves us along into a steady push of musical ease that has good weighty fuzzery and hygienic vocal accoutrements that adorn a solid tonal tree and help the whole structure sway with effective efficiency.  Nothing overly-elaborated here, nothing too convoluted and up its own rear orifice - just a straight forward moment that gets on with the task at hand.  'Fay's Song' is a touching beauty that deals with wrenching loss and facing yet another gap in life's jigsaw that leaves one emptier than before.  The band add a delicacy to proceedings and pour out a genuine river of respect to a lost gem who obviously meant so much.  As an outside observer it seems a fitting tribute and it is so honestly and articulately executed that I would be a fool to find flaw - quite lovely.

Next couplet and 'Quiet Bit/Loud Bit' swells high, moves with might and is akin to an oceanic movement that undulates in drawn out folds of liquid energy and slow persuasive mesmerism.  I am partly drawn in but strive to swim clear and judge from a distance as I am not fully convinced I want to be drowned by this sonic sea.  The song has moments to absorb, is crystal clean and lucid but I am just slipping out of sync with this one and for some reason that has me baffled I may be naming and shaming this as the least Fungally attractive of the lot  - even I am unconvinced by this verdict.  Onwards and funk bass and lyrical convolutions interspersed with acoustic respites and fresh breath air blasts is the modus operandi of the chasing construction slapped down under the moniker of 'Float Me'.  A boxed in moment of wordery comes, much of the usual quality meets expectations with added depth to maintain longevity and Bob's your uncle, this is decent enough (be warned though, Bob needs keeping an eye on and is indecent in the extreme).

The last 2, 'Kid On A Bridge', is a decisive acoustic moment touched by a personal sadness that sees the broken wreck of a boy return from beyond the grave and cause untold pain.  The tortured tracks on which the song progresses are stuck to for dear life and deal with sheer death in the most open way.  Visions of 'Stand By Me', the film that is, come to mind, when the dead kid is the centre of everyone's attention, albeit for different reasons.  Something unsettling resonates as it does within the song - quite odd.  This is a good creation though and I am intrigued. We have a bit of fun to finish, but fun that has a resounding message to be yourself, not follow the sheep and make sure you ruddy well believe in yourself every step of the way.  'I'll Never Be A Pirate' is a jolly way to close down and lightens the mood of what is generally a quite serious CD.  It waves a flag of leisure but still makes sure you don't recline too much and get complacent - oh aye Captain!

So the CD review is done and what a classy encounter it has been.  The crew apply themselves with thought and care and pour out many acoustic aromas to get your curious hooter around.  From a punk point of view this may be too mild, too clean cut and too gentle for some - personally it only proves there are some right silly cunts about with no sense of variation and, may I add, taste!

   
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